It has now been over two full years since COVID first came along, and many businesses are implementing "return to the workplace" programs and policies. Transitioning back to the workplace can be difficult. Not only can it be a challenge to keep the work-life balance going, but the old office dilemmas may become a source of frustration again. Whether you interact with coworkers in person, from the comfort of your home office, or both, these friendly pointers from Miss Office Manners may be helpful to you. In this installment, I offer solutions to two common challenges. Happy reading!
Advice for Those Who Feel The Need To Post EVERYTHING on Social Media
Dear Miss Office Manners: I am “friends” with one of my coworkers on social media (we are friends with no quotes too). I noticed that she has been posting about work a whole lot lately, and let’s just say she is not painting our workplace in the most flattering light. She is not social media “friends” with anyone else in our office, but who’s to say that one of her “friends” doesn’t know someone else who works with us? Should I say something to her?
-- Both a Friend and a “Friend”
I think it’s time to have a talk with your “friend.” It may be a little awkward, but you have earned the right since you’re also her friend. Tell her in the nicest way possible that it would be in her best interests to remain circumspect about work on social media, and certainly not to trash talk the workplace online. Remind her that once you put something on the internet, you can never take it back. Everything you have ever done on social media, whether you think it’s private or not, can come back to bite you in the well, you know what. And as you know, complaining about your workplace, boss, or coworkers on social media may relieve some stress at the time, but it can impact your career now and in the future.
Some companies even have a rule about what may and may not be posted on social media. Your friend needs to become familiar with any company policy. Your friend’s actions could result in serious consequences or possibly disciplinary action. But even if there’s no official policy, it could impact her ability to get a job somewhere else in the future. Trust me, almost all potential employers look into the social media profiles of job candidates and disqualify anyone who complains about their boss or workplace. And no, it doesn’t matter if your boss is the non-cartoon equivalent of Mr. Spacely. Bottom line - talking negatively about work on social media makes you, not your company or coworkers, look bad. So just don’t do it…ever. Good luck to you and hopefully you can get through to your friend before she does more damage.
Put That Phone Down During Meetings
Dear Miss Office Manners: Please settle a debate my colleague and I are having. She thinks it is fine to sit in an in-person meeting and check emails, messages, etc. I think it is rude. Who is right?
-- Meetings Are NOT For Multitasking
I think you are right in most scenarios. Unless there is an emergency, you should give the meeting your full attention. This means no answering phone calls, texting, or checking emails. If you aren’t giving a meeting your full attention, there is a strong possibility you are missing critical details. Even worse, it makes it look like you don’t value what others in the meeting have to say. This is unprofessional, and though it’s become all too commonplace, it’s just plain rude. I understand that this can be difficult if the meeting is particularly long, but it is best to wait for a break to check messages. If your office utilizes an instant messaging app, you can set your status to “In a Meeting” so that your coworkers understand that they will not receive an immediate response. I hope this helps settle your debate!
I hope you have found this week’s tips both helpful and enjoyable. Here’s wishing everyone a productive and healthy work environment, wherever that may be! Be safe and well, everyone!