Do’s, don’ts of working with others
Being a good co-worker takes more than bringing an occasional batch of homemade blueberry muffins to the office, although it certainly helps. But if you want to be the type of person others actually want to work with — and you can’t bake — here are a few do’s and don’ts for how you should act toward others in the office.
DO be nice: Be courteous to others and say hello when you see your officemates in the morning and goodbye when you leave for the day. It doesn’t take much to make eye contact and give a nod or smile to someone you’ve worked with for 10 years, yet it’s one of the most frequent complaints about life at the office.
DON’T inundate people with personal or work-related information when you first see them in the morning:
Most employees like to ease into the day without having to fend off that co-worker who won’t leave their desk until they’ve shared every detail on their latest “Game of Thrones” theory. People like their space in the morning. Give them some time to begin their day.
Aside from the personal benefits of working in a clutterfree zone, you’ll avoid “that guy” status at the office and won’t need to cause a scene every time you’re looking for an important document or your car keys. You may claim that a messy desk inspires you to be more creative but that’s a bunch of garbage. Literally. That’s garbage on your desk — gum wrappers, half-eaten bagels, empty Starbucks cups. Throw it away.
DO keep a neat, organized desk:
Just because the kitchen cabinet at work is filled with community coffee mugs, that doesn’t mean you can accumulate nine at a time on your desk before finally hauling them back to the sink. And then wash them. Unless your office has a cleaning service that does the dishes, it’s your responsibility to wash, dry and put away what you’ve used. This isn’t your mom’s house. And guess what? She wishes you’d wash your own coffee mug, too.
DON’T be a hoarder:
OK, you don’t have to go to every breakroom birthday celebration or after-work drinking engagement but make sure that you’re part of the workplace community. While there are plenty of social benefits to be gained from engaging with others in activities outside of the office, you never know what pieces of inside information and relevant topics you can learn from speaking with your co-workers in an environment that isn’t dominated by Herman Miller chairs and matching, potted plants.
DO participate in company events: DON’T feel the need to be the life of the party:
When you’re out with co-workers, you don’t have to be the center of attention. Sure, that joke you heard about the farmer, the tuba player and the agile coach is hilarious but do you really want to be dropping such inappropriate imagery in front of your co-workers? And be careful sharing your tales of weekend debauchery or marital strife. You’re not hanging out with your high school buddies in the garage or sitting in a chair at the psychologist’s office. You’re at an extended version of the workday so act appropriately. Save your most personal stories for those co-workers you consider close friends.
DO be a team player: While it’s always important to be a contributing member of any group or committee, it’s just as important to be a concerned co-worker when you’re flying solo. If someone’s having trouble finishing all their work before heading off on vacation, offer to step in and take care of a few tasks. If someone’s sitting at their desk eating lunch alone each day, pull up a chair and engage in some small talk. Being a good co-worker doesn’t exclude you from being a good person.
While it occasionally can be thrilling to hear tawdry stories about your boss, you’re not exactly helping the dynamics of the office when you choose to dish the dirt. Office gossip can be one of the biggest detriments to a cohesive, courteous working environment. And really, who cares if Charlie slept with Lacey who slept with Bill who slept with Steve. Spreading salacious stuff at work makes you look like a mean girl in junior high.
DON’T engage in office gossip:
If you volunteer or are asked to do something, do it. When Jerry from IT forgets to order the bagels for Monday morning’s brainstorming session, no one will remember the mediocre ideas that came out of the meeting. Instead, they’ll remember that when they needed him the most, Jerry didn’t come through with the goods, leaving them unable to answer the cries for food from their cavernous stomachs.
DO the small things:
If you messed up, let other people know that you’re to blame and apologize. And then work to make things right. Then, when given the chance to do something similar in the future, be sure to knock it out of the park. There are few things more disheartening than working with people who refuse to be accountable for their mistakes. Spare your peers the unproductive fingerpointing sessions and own your actions.
DON’T pass the buck:
While it occasionally can be thrilling to hear tawdry stories about your boss, you’re not exactly helping the dynamics of the office when you choose to dish the dirt.