Do’s, don’ts of work­ing with oth­ers

The Fresno Bee (Sunday) - - Job Market - — Marco Buscaglia, Ca­reers

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.

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