January 3, 2007 EditionAlso in this issue...
New Year's office resolutionsBy Linda Lou Moore
When we think of New Year's Resolutions, we think of change. These types of resolutions often mean change. Making small modifications or major changes will help to make life easier for you and for others.
Civility in the office can certainly make office life easier. For most, small offices, crowded desks and cramped cubicles are all a part of the office setting. Working in these conditions several hours a day can certainly be trying and often too close for comfort. If you think about it, this small space is ~ "Home away from home."
When working with others in small office spaces, it is always a good idea to:
(A) Assume everyone is on the same schedule as you.
(B) Always borrow your colleagues' items without asking their permission. After all, you need the materials more than they do.
(C) Make certain that you do all personal grooming at your desk. No one would want to miss that.
(D) Respect your co-worker's privacy and office space.
If you answered, " R-E-S-P-E-C-T," Aretha Franklin would be pleased.
If you spend most of your time in this type of environment, following a few guidelines can make the office atmosphere much more pleasant.
- Honor your colleagues' privacy before entering their office space.
- Ask if it is a good time to discuss business. Don't assume they are on the same schedule as you.
- Wait until you are asked to be seated. It's not a good idea to just "plop-down" and begin to visit.
- Keep your hands to yourself. Don't touch or pick up personal objects or materials that belong to your co-worker unless asked to do so.
- When conducting business be aware that others in the area can hear you. Keep your language professional. Don't scream or swear. Your language is a reflection of you and your company.
- If you have personal business, it is best to discuss it elsewhere. Private conversations may be easily overheard by others.
- Personal grooming does not belong at your desk. For example, if you feel an overwhelming desire to pick or floss your teeth, reapply make-up or restyle your hair, then it is best to do it in the restroom, not in your work area.
- Close working conditions mean personal hygiene is a must.
- Try to keep articles not applicable to your work off your desk. The half-eaten cheeseburger left over from lunch is distracting to others.
- Almost everyone has been asked to contribute to some type of fund-raiser. Although there are many good causes, don't assume your co-workers are as enthusiastic about it as you. Telling your colleagues that they need to or should contribute may make them ill at ease. They may not want to support a particular cause or make a monetary contribution.
- Light-hearted humor and jokes can certainly add to a fun or relaxing time at the office. However, be aware of your surroundings. Inappropriate language and behavior can make others uncomfortable and may result in charges of sexual harassment.
- Respect your co-workers' office space and desk. Don't use or remove any of their items without asking permission.
- If your office has a lounge or break room help keep it clean. Remember the phrase: "Your mother doesn't work here."
You may not be able to choose the size of your office or your workspace, but by practicing office etiquette you can make office life easier.
Linda Lou Moore of Paragould is trained and certified by The Protocol School of Washington, Washington, D.C. She offers customized individual and group etiquette programs for children, teens and adults. She may be reached at Post Office Box 145, Paragould, AR 72451 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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