At most workplaces, employees are expected to follow a chain of command. While some may gripe about the “pecking order,” the system actually possesses many advantages. Having someone to report to directly provides a central source for help and resources, and knowing who you need to answer to eliminates confusion about whose word to follow. Going to an immediate supervisor with a problem or concern will probably yield the best chance of someone listening since she is the most directly involved both with you and with the issue.
During these final two months of 2013, you may find yourself standing around the water cooler discussing a variety of holiday and end-of-the-year topics. While taking time to talk with colleagues can help solidify relationships and make the workday more enjoyable, remember that some subjects are better left untouched. Think twice before chiming in on the following:
You notice a colleague preparing material for a meeting in a highly inefficient manner. You’re dying to scream, “There’s a much easier way to do that!” but should you?
Giving unsolicited advice can make you look like a know-it-all or a meddler, neither of which are great for your reputation. If what the person is doing isn’t harmful, just not the way you’d do it, keeping your mouth shut may be for the best. If you do decide something should be done, here are some strategies:
Finding out that a co-worker has had a miscarriage can be a sad experience for the whole office. Whether the person had announced the pregnancy and everyone was excited about the upcoming arrival or if she lost the baby before making the news public, it can be hard to know what to say or do at such a difficult time.
The last two months of the year are filled with a variety of days off for workers. No doubt, many of us are looking forward to a three-day weekend in honor of Veteran’s Day, while Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s provide various-length respites depending on your individual workplace. Some people tack on vacation days in order to have an even greater amount of time off, and employers tend to be fine with this practice as long as the absence is cleared in advance so that not everyone is gone at once.
For some workers, the last three months of the year are the perfect time to turn a boring cubicle into a festive display. Pumpkins and ghosts in October give way to turkeys and horns of plenty in November and reindeer and stockings and snowmen and . . . you get the idea for December.
Some businesses encourage employees to get creative, even having contests. Others prefer little to no signs of the season, perhaps feeling that the decorations distract from work or give the office an unprofessional vibe.
Your co-worker walks in one morning with what is obviously a new hairstyle (such as a much different color or a considerably shorter length). You don’t really like how it looks, but failing to acknowledge the change would be like pretending not to notice an elephant in the room. What can you say or do?
Relationship expert April Masini of the advice column Ask April suggests trying one of these options for handling the situation gracefully:
In a recent article, we talked about office etiquette when it comes to whether or not to hold the door open for someone else. Doing so for a person directly behind you is basically a no-brainer; if there is some distance involved, however, a quick rule of thumb to help make the judgment is to hold the door if the person is within earshot at a normal voice level. People who are farther away may feel they must rush through so as not to keep you waiting, and you both may feel awkward.
Many workers enjoy talking to their colleagues, and such conversations can help build connections that increase morale and strengthen ties. We’ve all heard, though, to stay away from gossip because it can damage your reputation and end up causing messy situations. Yet while sometimes gossip is easy to pinpoint, the fine line between it and informative, personal talking that can be beneficial is oftentimes blurred. How can you tell the difference?