Office life can be a minefield. I have worked in several different areas over my 17 years of adulthood and the parallels of office etiquette can be vast!
Recently, Calibre furniture asked me to get involved with their #BoardroomEtiquette campaign. This was ideal timing for me – having recently started my brand new job – so I thought I’d give you guys a few tips on how to handle those big, occasionally dull meetings.
If you’ve ever seen the UK version of ‘The Office’, you’ll know that acoustic guitar solos, emotional outbursts, break ups and dubious weekend tales are best left firmly outside the boardroom. My sympathy is all yours if you’re unlucky enough to have boss who fancies themselves as a bit of a David Brent!
One office I worked in reeked of old-school corporate culture throughout, with the hierarchy being clear and staff reminded of their rank on a regular basis. Thankfully, most other companies have moved with the times and this dated mindset has been pushed aside for more positive, productive ways of working.
Power dressing, polyester suits and shoulder pads are slowly dying out in favour of a more relaxed dress code, with things like ‘casual Fridays’ on the rise.
Most of us spend a minimum of 40+ hours a week in the office so I think it’s pretty important that our surroundings and environment are pleasant, don’t you? Obviously the main priority has to be practicality but do we really have to endure rows of repetitive MDF desks, magnolia walls and ‘inspirational’ desk calendars?
Some offices are jumping on board with brighter, more socially focused spaces and creating a unique, appealing workplace for their staff. Not only can this help to boost morale, it also shows clients that you are happy to be little diverse. Never a bad thing in my opinion!
So, back to boardroom etiquette. If you attend regular meetings in the office, then here are few things to keep in mind:
Respect Other Peoples Input
Brainstorming is a wonderful thing. Getting the benefit of several different perspectives can be incredibly valuable. Don’t discount your quieter, more introverted colleagues in favour of the over-opinionated guy in sales, who seems to like the sound of his own voice a little too much. They may just be sitting on a goldmine of ideas!
I love food. I look forward to lunchtime more than I probably should and find myself aimlessly snacking throughout the day. However, during a meeting, I have to say that there is nothing more distracting than a colleague chomping away as somebody is giving a presentation. Even just the obligatory bowl of sweets or tray of sandwiches can be tricky as personally, I spend more time eyeing up the food than paying attention. Taking small coffee breaks between lengthy meetings can be more productive and help you come back refreshed, with a renewed enthusiasm.
In the past, the workplace has often been a case of ‘It’s not what you know, it’s who you know’. Thankfully, this outdated and often unfair way of progression is slowly becoming irrelevant. It turns out (quite rightly) that what you know is actually far more important than who you know.
You were hired because you obviously have something beneficial to add to the company. Don’t be scared to bring up new ideas, suggest changing tired policies and having confidence in your own skills and abilities.
As much as the MDs might seem a little terrifying, they are just humans beings like everyone else. They may even love your concepts and reward you with a promotion or pay rise!
Frankly, no-one really wants to hear about your wild night out with the lads, deal with your Monday morning hangover or be cornered by the workplace gossip. Sure, team building is super important but please learn what is and isn’t appropriate!
I’m an old romantic and actually know several couples whose relationship began in the office but let’s face facts; it’s a risky game. The workplace is not an entirely appropriate environment for perusing a potential soulmate, scouting out phone numbers, flirting *cringe* or being overly affectionate – come on people! Keep it professional, have a little respect for your colleagues/employers and save that stuff for the weekend.
Not to put a downer on those newly-discovered butterflies but what happens if it all goes sour? Not only do you face the dilemma of working with an ex every day, but having tension, rumours and eye daggers flying around the office can create a pretty miserable, awkward atmosphere for your colleagues who end up reluctantly caught in the fallout.
Do you prefer a more traditional working environment or are you happier in a more creative, relaxed workplace?
| Instagram | Pinterest | Facebook | Twitter | Bloglovin’ |