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Tips on How to get Along with Your Colleagues

By: Maggie Lonsdale BA (hons) - Updated: 29 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
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Whether you are a 'live to work' or a 'work to live' type, in reality we all spend a large chunk of our days, weeks and months in the office (or shop, school or whatever) so we owe it to ourselves to make it as pleasant as possible.

We all know the classic office characters - the smooth talker with a suit that's a bit too shiny, the terribly efficient but nervous office manager, the person who gets paid a lot but no one is quite sure what they actually do - which one are you? Hopefully none of the above, but you will have an office persona that will be slightly or, indeed, very different to your home life character.

If you are a 'live to work' type, it may be a good idea to think about how your character comes across to your colleagues - perhaps people are inspired by your efforts, or they may see you as a goody-goody. Your boss is likely to value the fact that you put so much effort into your work, although they may have started taking it for granted that you arrive early, stay late and never put a foot wrong.

If you are a 'work to live' type, your colleagues may be frustrated that you do not seem to pull your weight, or are bored of making excuses for your tardiness. Your boss may secretly be impressed at your lack of awe at the rat race treadmill, but still be irritated by your lack of commitment and effort.

Whatever office persona you have, and hopefully it's somewhere in the middle, you may find some ideas below that will help you get the work/life balance a little more healthy -

  • When the 'birthday envelope' comes round, don't just put in coppers - a least a pound, although you'll get to know the done thing in your office.
  • If you do 'Secret Santa' at Christmas, no silly/rude presents - go for a scented candle for females or a good 'driving' CD for men.
  • In meetings, don't take the credit for someone else's work.
  • Make your share of the tea.
  • If you see or hear someone crying in the loo, ask if they're OK.
  • On a team project, pull your weight - don't hide in the group and expect them to carry you.
  • Don't gossip.
  • Don't tell other people what you think they should be doing, unless they ask for your advice (and even then, tread gently).
  • If everyone else in your office brings in cakes on their birthday, make sure you do too - no Gregg's cheapo doughnuts either, Marks and Spencer's at least.
  • Do not forward joke or 'send this on to ten friends and you will be a millionaire in five minutes' emails.
  • Be prepared - offer good ideas in meetings, have suggestions for the Christmas party and make sure you are up to date with new projects.
  • Take your job seriously - regardless of what you do, other people in your work place will respect and value their jobs. If you undermine what you do, you are undermining their job too. This is a sure fire way to annoy colleagues.

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