Sometimes, we get into a situation in the office that we wish we could avoid.
We get there because let’s face it; we’re not alone there…
An office is a hive of people that works toward the same goal. But unlike real hives, there is no central brain that controls everyone’s actions; we’re all responsible for our own actions but we’re still subjected to influences and events that are out of our control.
This exposes us to certain situations that are less than optimal (to say the least). How can you steer clear from these kinds of situations?
Here are some situations and suggestions; you’re welcome to contribute in the comment sections and your answers might even get featured on this post!
1# Our inbox after a long vacation
Yup, you went to a wonderful vacation and now it’s time to face the music. There are probably a thousand things that you need to do besides emptying your inbox; here are some cool tips to minimize the overflowing inbox.
1. Ensure you leave a responder letting senders know you are out on vacation (so they don’t send multiple emails).
2. Try to delegate emails using the auto-responder. For example, if you are working on two key projects, ask people to contact your delegates while you are gone. This way you can have a short meeting with each delegate, rather than read and reply to messages.
3. Start work from the latest emails backwards! Chances are later messages may “cancel” the need to respond to older messages.
2# Knock-knock interruptions
No, it’s not a beginning of a bad joke…You get interrupted at work, at lot. Those interruptions can ruin your work and, subsequently, your day. They often come from the same source and most of the time you can’t do anything about them because they’re so engrained into the way the other person works that you can’t avoid them.
Interruptions at your work place are so dominant that a new branch in science was established to deal with them and it’s called… You guessed it – interruption science! Let’s begin by explaining first of all why we’re so sensitive to interruptions…
We get distracted because we have functioning senses. Back in the day these senses served to save us from predators and identify food and dangers in our environment. Nowadays those senses focus our attention on the wrong stuff from time to time and it’s really hard to get our focus back. Sometimes, it can take up to 20 minutes to gain our focus back after the interruption occurred.
To deal with interruptions, it’s best to simply plan for them!
1. Put on your door/table/wall a DND sign.
2. Tell everyone that you should not be contacted from time X to Y.
3. Put on headphone; makes it really tough to disturb you.
4. When delegating, set a time and place for establishing contact.
5. Block incoming communications and limit them to specific times.
By making yourself unavailable and uninterruptable, you effectively reduce the amount of interruptions, and as a result, increase your output!
3# Office Conflicts
Since the fabric of the office is made mostly of the people, you might find yourself dealing with the less fair side of humanity i.e. conflict.
Waking up to a conflict in the office is the last thing you want to happen to you of course, but sometimes, it happens …
You see, everyone brings their own luggage to the office and you can’t know on which side of the bed people woke up on any given morning. That’s why conflict is imminent from time to time…It’s our way to vent.
That’s why when you’re in a situation that gets heated up quickly; you need to be the one in control i.e. the adult. It’s unfair, but nobody wins in office conflicts because both sides always stand to lose; lose the respect of their peer and even lose the job.
Adults resolve conflict with various tools…
1. Listening, sometime people just want to be heard. If you put your ego aside and just listen without distraction you might find that this entire conflict lays in a misunderstanding.
2. Put the facts on the table, when you’re dealing with facts no one can argue; the discussion tones down, and resolution is near.
3. If you’re in an emotional conflict, don’t deal with facts. Try to see where things went wrong and be the first to apologize if you’re the offender (even if you think that you’re not).
4. Ask for a mediator. If you can’t handle the other side, there’s someone in the office that can help you reach “middle ground”. Remember, you don’t have to agree with the mediator’s final judgment, but, as the adult in the room, you need to accept it.
5. Never get dragged into a conflict with a bully, they don’t have your mentality and they draw strength from your humiliation. When faced with a bully follow this guide.
Which office situation have you got out of and what did you do, please share your story with us in the comments section below.
Until we meet again!