HR & Management

Top 10 tips for a happy office

6 min read

12 November 2013

Deputy Editor, Real Business

Would you like to work in a happy and harmonious office? Here are 10 simple ways.

1. The kettle is your friend

One of the biggest causes of conflict in every office is the kitchen area, either people not doing the washing up, pinching stuff from the fridge, or not making their fair share of tea and coffee.

Never assume that it is the most junior member of staff’s responsibility to make the tea, everyone should muck in with this task, even management.

2. Remember to Cc

Not Cc-ing your colleagues into emails is enough to drive some of them round the bend. Failure to do this simple task though could have some serious consequences.

If one of your bosses hasn’t seen an email which you’ve sent to a client, he or she will either think that you haven’t done it or worse, think they are not in the loop with what’s going on.

3. Grovelling doesn’t suit you

No one likes a brown-noser – not even the people who you are trying to suck up to. You’re not the first to think you can go up the ladder by grovelling and you won’t be the last.

Management see this time after time and know how to deal with it as it reflects badly on you. In fact, rather than charming your boss you give off the impression that you’re not confident in your own ability to succeed. 

4. Talk!

If you need help with something ask someone.Some 99.9 per cent of all conflicts in the office are due to a lack of communication.

Often, when you speak about things they become easier to resolve – sitting quietly at your desk struggling, getting yourself more wound up is not good for the task in hand, the company or you. 

5. Cheats never prosper

If you make a mistake, confess it quickly. Everyone makes mistakes and the sooner they are out in the open they quicker they can be resolved.

If you sit on an error you have made or try to hide it, you are digging yourself a hole which after time will be harder and harder to climb out of. Lies will always get found out.

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Continue for tips 6-10…

6. Watch what you write

Always be careful what you put in emails as you can never guarantee that they will remain private. Therefore, never put anything in an email or an internal memo which you wouldn’t be happy with the entire office seeing.

7. I’m sorry, no

Learning to say no to someone is a difficult but essential life task. You need to be able to do it, but it is essential that you learn how to convey this in the best possible manner. The last thing you want is to be burdened with everyone’s work because you didn’t have the guts to say no to them. 

Similarly, you don’t want to be seen as a stubborn donkey who won’t lend any one a hand.The phrase, ‘I would love to help but I’m really tied up at the moment – if it’s not urgent I should be able to help later in the week’, is always a good set response.

8. Boundaries

Know where to draw the line. Your office colleagues are not the same as your close group of friends or your family. What’s more, the office is not the pub or a lounge so your behaviour should reflect that.

9. Say well done

Praise is so often forgotten in many work places. You don’t have to lay it on thick or go over the top with ‘good job’ cards, but a simple ‘well done – you did a great job on that’ will go a long way.

Positive reinforcement is such a powerful tool in the office and has the potential to create a happy and productive workforce. Even simple things like employee of the month, can get the most out of people.

10. Smile

You would not be surprised by the number of people who sit at their desk all day with a glum expression on their face. They don’t talk or smile, they just come in, do their work and then go. You would be astonished at the difference it can make if everyone smiles in the office. Granted there’s not going to be ‘The Sound of Music’ style jollity all the time, but pleasantries like saying ‘good morning’, or ‘how are you’, or even holding the door for people, all make the office a better place to work.