As you may be noticing, I am the queen of lists. I like to write lists for everything (including lists for my lists). That being said, this is my list of offices do’s and don’ts, little things to avoid or do that make almost every office experience more pleasant.
1) DO: Take your left-over lunch out of the fridge and home with you.
I have to admit, I’ve always wondered if cheese mould could take out a three week old milk in a straight-up fist fight, but pit that war in your fridge at home. No one at work wants to play mom and clean up after that.
2) DON’T: Wear to much perfume/cologne and be careful with strong fragrances.
This can cause some allergic reactions, and most of the time it just doesn’t smell good. For example, when you mix seafood chowder with a shot of coconut hand sanitizer in +30 weather, it can make other people in the office feel like they work in a Jamaican crab shack (as I have found out first hand.)
3) DO: Ask how all the office electronics work.
Even if you have to ask 3 times, it’s OK. Odds are, someone else in the office has had to ask 4 times. And let’s face it, the electronics are getting way too smart. The printer, fax machine, and phone have been toying with office workers since the dark ages (or somewhere around there), and getting help before you print off 3,000 copies of your “Out to lunch” sign saves everyone some time and money.
4) DON’T: Partake in “Office Drama.”
Don’t even get started. Other than the obvious minefield topics of politics, religion and sexuality, stay away from the smaller stuff too. When someone wants you to pick a side or take a stance in something that really doesn’t need to be discussed, just plead Switzerland. I mean it: say “I’m Switzerland” and walk away. Nobody gets mad at Switzerland, right?
5) DO: Own up to your own mistakes.
Under no circumstances is it OK to throw somebody under the bus. It wasn’t OK in Grade 1 and isn’t OK now. You work with these people every day, and owning up to your mistakes goes a long way. Unless someone recently quit, of course, and then we know everything was their fault (joking… mostly.)
6) DO: If you have the last cup of coffee make a new pot.
I tell you this for your own safety: hordes of caffeine-deprived people can be very dangerous. You might even be the person I’m warning you about. The scary part is, you might not even know I’m talking about you. That’s what caffeine withdrawal can do to a person.
7) DON’T: Have loud personal calls on the phone during work hours.
Sometimes you need to make a personal call. We understand that. However, doing it at 9:30am while everybody is speaking to other clients isn’t the best idea. Maybe reconsider and make the call on your break or lunch hour.
8) DO: Remember to have fun, too.
I have a lot of do’s and don’ts here, but remember that offices can be a lot of fun too. Especially the Christmas parties—let’s face it, that’s where you make up for all your good conduct throughout the year, right? 😉