'Where the hell is my stapler?' 10 tips to prevent office wars

  • Living
  • Tuesday, 23 Jun 2015

According to Happiness At Work by author Jessica Pryce-Jones, American workers spend an average of 90,000 hours at work over their lifetime.

With so much time spent in cubicles and under the glare of fluorescent lights (and constant deadlines), maintaining civility and respect is not only important for personal success but also for the psychological well-being of your entire office.

Whether you are a recent hire or just need a refresher course on inter-office relationships, here are some practical reminders on maintaining professional decorum and respect in a shared workplace.

1. Volume Control

With open work spaces becoming more commonplace, a closed door can’t shut out a loud co-worker or someone on a speakerphone. If you have to make phone calls in an open setting, make sure to control your own volume and respect your neighbors. Or if your office has privacy rooms, utilise them.

2. Food for Thought 

The shared office kitchen is often the most contentious room in any office setting. From leaving last week’s half eaten lunch in the fridge to stinking up the kitchen with reheated kimchi, employees need to show respect and mind their manners when it comes to culinary concerns. If there is a sink, do your own dishes instead of leaving them for later.

Clean up after yourself, please!

3. Happy Returns

Nothing can raise the ire of your fellow employee quicker than “borrowing” a stapler, a pair of scissors or a pen without asking. What’s worse is when you forget to return the item. Remember what your parents taught you as a child — never borrow something without asking and if you do, be sure and return it as soon as possible.

4. The Late Show

With our deadline-driven workday, time is more valuable than ever. If you have a meeting with a co-worker or team, show respect by being on time. The same goes for meeting deadlines on a collaborative project. Nothing leaves a worse impression than someone having to pay the price for your tardiness.

5. Language Barrier

In an office setting, you are surrounded by people of all faiths, backgrounds and moral codes of conduct. Given this diversity, be sure and watch your language by editing out swear words, demeaning phrases and other offensive remarks. Showing respect in all forms of communication will speak volumes about you.

Are you inadvertently contributing to the office bitching?
Are you inadvertently contributing to the office bitching?

6. Idle Gossip

No matter where you work, most of us have encountered office gossip, been a party to it, or been the victim of it. Constantly engaging in such behavior can lead to long-term unhappiness with co-workers. If you indulge in office gossip, think about what it’s doing to your own reputation — not to mention the hurt feelings of your office mates.

7. Credit Score

No one likes someone who takes all the credit— especially for a team project. Remember that the most happy work environments are collaborative places where people share ideas and concepts. Even if you are the leader of a project, don’t forget to recognise the efforts of your co-workers.

8. Bittersweet Smells

More and more companies are adopting a fragrance-free policy due to allergies, headaches and other reactions to body sprays, aftershave and even designer perfumes. For that segment of your work family that is truly bothered by such smells (including pop-up air fresheners), be a team player and save the sprays for after hours.

Overkill is a real thing.

9. Groom with a View

We’ve all heard horror stories about co-workers who clip their nails and even floss their teeth in a cubicle or open office. So please show some professional and personal decorum by arriving at your office pre-groomed and ready for work.

10. Private Screenings

How many times have you been composing a private email and a co-worker stops to talk and glances at your work, giving your monitor more than a few seconds of screen time? Always remember to respect your co-workers’ privacy – especially with their online work. – Reuters/Pamela Eyring

Pamela Eyring is president of The Protocol School of Washington.

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 1
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3

Next In Living

Dear Thelma: I like this girl but she's in a relationship with someone else
Car parts could be made from rice husks in the future
Forget grass: Eco-friendly, no-mow alternatives for green lawns
These Malaysians are growing vegetables on shoe racks and other small spaces Premium
When archaeologists and police team up, you get plastic skeletons
Nestl� Malaysia Promotes Behaviour Change As Part Of Environmental Sustainability Efforts
Canon PIXMA Ink Efficient G Series Expansion To Boost Productivity For Homes And Small Businesses
England’s first electric car station opens
Here's how you can change your own door lock
Making your own dream motorhome

Stories You'll Enjoy