Does it seem sometimes that tempers are short in your office? Are people not as patient as they could be? Working in close proximity – particularly with people that have differing habits – can be stressful. It’s important for everyone to be respectful of each other and it never hurts to remind people to do that. Most people want to get along and do the job that they were hired to do.
Whether you just want to send an email reminder or adopt a policy and update your handbook, here are some ideas that many employees can rally around:
- Be aware of how loud you speak on the telephone.
- Don’t hold meetings in shared work areas. For conversations with three or more people, go to a conference room or a break area.
- Don’t hold interoffice conversations on a speaker phone. Pick up the phone when calling others. If several people need to be included on a call, consider a conference call, or move a speaker phone conversation to a walled office or conference room.
- Always show up on time for meetings and be respectful of other people’s time.
- Keep meetings to the time scheduled. Don’t force the next group to stand in the hallway outside of the conference room waiting for you and your group to finish.
- Pay attention during meetings and avoid multi-tasking, such as scrolling through emails on your smart phone or computer.
- Don’t take your bad mood out on others. Everyone has stresses at work.
- Eat lunch in the cafeteria or break room. Avoid eating smelly food at your desk.
- Stay at home when you’re sick to avoid passing germs to others.
- Put your personal cell phone on “vibrate” mode to prevent disturbing others.
- Avoid wearing perfume or cologne at work.
- Ladies – don’t wear revealing clothing. Let others see your skills, not private body parts.
- Respect your co-worker’s property (and company property).
- Don’t take things from others without asking. Refrigerator lunch and coffee cream stealers – that means you!
When troubles do arise, don’t let your employees put you in the middle. Employees may look to a supervisor to address issues that they don’t want to confront themselves. Express your support for all your employees by encouraging them to try to work out their differences among themselves first. If they would feel more comfortable with you – as the supervisor – to be there, that’s okay, but avoid taking sides.
Use these tips to help employees work through problems:
- Don’t reciprocate bad office behavior.
- Stay calm and don’t get emotional or angry.
- Meet with the person in a private location and explain how his or her bad manners or behavior are affecting you.
- If the problem continues or worsens after you’ve spoken with the offender, seek help from your manager or a representative from HR.
If you need help developing a policy for your business or need help with a specific employee situation, contact BCN Services for assistance.
Sue Kester, HR Manager