Oh, open-plan offices, how we love you (when there’s a new video of models falling) and equally hate you (when other people watch said videos without headphones and you’re on deadline). But did you know you could be displaying some douchey behaviour without even knowing it? Here’s how to stop.
1 Clean up
Even if you have an office cleaning person, you still need to wipe the things that spill and rinse your dishes.
2 Refill things
If the printer is out of paper or you finish the water in the cooler, replace it. Or notify the person responsible. This is especially relevant for kettle water and milk: don’t get between your co-workers and their coffee.
3 Write things down
Never make people repeat themselves. Carry a notebook and pen, write things down and then – most importantly – read what you wrote down before you ask questions.
4 Get over-the-ear headphones
You knew this was coming. Don’t subject other people to your noise but also don’t leave them calling and waving at you because they can’t see your buds. Put on over-the-ear headphones and be aware of your peripheral vision.
5 Google things
You should never feel afraid to ask questions – but be aware of what you’re asking. Google it first: 90% of the time, Google can answer your question better than the senior you were about to interrupt.
6 Try to solve things
Your boss is there to help but you’ll look way better if you already have a suggestion in mind when you approach her.
7 Get familiar with e-mail etiquette
No need to hit reply-all to office-wide e-mails. Only copy in the essential people.
8 Use Skype, G-Chat, Whatsapp or your legs
Shouting across the office is reserved for the head honcho only. Try and keep your conversations quiet where possible.
9 Leave the hake at home
It smells delicious in your oven at home; it smells like mouldy ass in the office microwave.
10 Put your phone on silent
Or at least make Whatsapp notifications silent. You may have gone to a meeting without your phone but your co-workers can all hear the 98 new group message notifications coming through.
11 Respond to e-mails
If it’s going to take you longer than two working days to get to an e-mail, you have problems. Get your time management sorted and communicate with your team.
12 Be on time
Plan to arrive 15 minutes early for work. Set your meeting reminders for 15 minutes ahead of time, then actually get up and walk to the meeting room on time. It’s not difficult and it shows respect for the people you’re meeting with.
13 Be prepared
Don’t go into a meeting unprepared. It’s perfectly acceptable to request a meeting agenda so that you can research the thing you’re meeting about.
14 Follow up without being asked
If your boss gives you a task to do, don’t wait for her to ask a second time. Write it down. Action it. Follow up.
15 Ask the right person
Just because someone can help, doesn’t mean you should keep asking them to. If you can’t make your e-mail work, don’t annoy your colleagues. Google it. If that doesn’t work, call IT.
16 Stop messing with the temperature
Check with those around you before you open all the windows in winter or put on the heater in spring.
17 Make personal calls in a separate room
Or at least talk softly into your desk phone.
18 Clean up your desk
Half-full coffee mugs from last week? No, bro.
19 Be at your desk
You might think nobody notices a long lunch or eight smoke breaks a day, but they do. Maybe you’re a super-human hard worker or maybe you finish your work at home but your co-workers don’t know this. They just know that you’re not there when they need you.
20 Don’t suck up
Or at least don’t be obvious about it. Especially don’t take credit for other people’s work in order to do it.
21 If you’ve screwed up, say so
The quicker you come clean, the quicker your team can fix whatever you’ve messed up. You might even end up earning their respect for your honesty. If you try to hide it or blame it on someone else, it’s only going to get worse for everyone.