10 Rules for Never Pissing Off Your Coworkers
Work + Life Balance

10 Rules for Never Pissing Off Your Coworkers

OFFICE LIFE CAN OFTEN MEAN TIGHT QUARTERS AND EVERYONE UP IN EACH OTHER’S BUSINESS—EVEN IF YOU’RE WORKING FOR A LARGE COMPANY. 

Here are some simple tips for keeping it classy and avoiding any chance of a faux pas at the water cooler. 

1. DON’T PARTICIPATE IN OFFICE GOSSIP

Feeding the rumor mill might seem like a harmless office activity, but imagine being on the receiving side. Take the high road. Don’t contribute. Change the subject.

2. ADDRESS COLLEAGUES CORRECTLY IN EMAILS

That means spelling their names correctly and calling them the right names. This isn’t your local coffee shop, and you’re not their zany barista (well, unless you are…in which case, you’re probably not emailing them). If Deborah from accounting likes being called Deborah, then skip the "Deb" and "Debby." If you're not sure what they'd prefer you call them, ask. 

3. SAY THANK YOU & MEAN IT

Even if you’re telling someone you disagree with how they handled a task, find something to genuinely thank them for…like their hard work, or if you’re really struggling, just their reply.

4. RESPECT PEOPLE’S DIFFERENCES

Not everyone you work with took the same path to get to their current professional role or grew up in the same background or culture. No judgment. No harsh responses. {click to tweet}

5.  ALWAYS WRITE AN EMAIL LIKE IT’S GOING OUT TO EVERYONE

Because it might be, and you don’t want to be the one who threw Sally under the bus for breaking the printer (again). 

6. BE PROMPT AND SUCCINCT

Be mindful of your colleague’s time, whether they're an intern or your boss. That goes for everything from replying to emails to leading meetings to scheduling deadlines—you're not the only one whose schedule is tight.

7. THINK CAREFULLY BEFORE HITTING “REPLY ALL”

No one loves getting 50 back-to-back messages because they’ve been cc’ed on an email asking what shade of company sticky notes they’d like back in stock. Limit the list.

8. HOLD YOURSELF ACCOUNTABLE

If you say you’re going to do something (e.g., assist a colleague with a project, review a report draft), do it.

9. OFFER HELP OR GUIDANCE IF REQUESTED

Not everything needs to be a teachable moment, but if someone wants to understand how you worked your magic, consider taking a moment to explain (before you automatically brush them off with a “Google it!” response). And if you see a coworker struggling, offer your help when possible. They’ll remember it. 

10. DON’T MICROWAVE YOUR LEFTOVER TUNA

Or anything similarly stinky. Just no.

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Your turn! What do you consider to be the best way to stay in your coworkers’ good graces?  

Photo: Eugenio Marongiu / Shutterstock.com