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Office Politics

2012 April 6

It’s Friday which means you are (hopefully) on your way to wrapping up another work week. This story was a hot topic among us working mothers this week, but I’d like to shift focus for a minute…not to what we do or don’t do when we escape the office, but what we do when we’re IN it.

I have been working in the “real world” for more than a decade (small potatoes to some, I know) but during that time, I have soaked up some great advice (and doled out my fair share, if I do say so myself) on how to stay seemingly happy and sane at your 9-to-5. And today I am here to share some of those tips with you:

1) Adopt an open-door policy. If you are in a position with any seniority, keep your office door open. Let people know they can drop by to vent, ask for advice, or just get a laugh in before their next conference call. If you’re in a more junior position, look for those open doors.

2) Always, always, always double check you are not hitting “reply all” when you mean to be hitting “reply.”

3) Make a “no meeting day” rule. Pick a day or two out of your schedule (I aim for both Mondays and Fridays) when you do not schedule meetings, conference calls, etc. Use that time to actually get your work done. Just politely let people know you have a conflict and offer alternate options. It’s amazing what you can accomplish with a day or two of uninterrupted time.

4) Speak up in meetings. It doesn’t always have to be brilliant. It doesn’t always have to save the day. But it has to be something.

5) Be friendly to assistants. In a few years, they may be VPs.

6) Make brainstorming fun. If you are gathering your team to get creative juices flowing, I recommend you have some sort of juice (alcoholic, if possible) actually flowing. Or sugar. Or something. Brainstorms on Friday afternoons with a little cocktail and a couple of cookies tend to be very productive. Work in marketing? Invite someone from accounting. Work in accounting? Invite the receptionist. You never know where great ideas may be hiding themselves.

7) When you take a vacation, do us all a favor and take a vacation. Don’t feel guilty about it. Put on an auto-reply and ONLY reply to emergencies, where needed. If you give an inch, they will take a mile. You’ve earned your day, enjoy it. And if you’re in a senior position, let people on your team truly relish their time off. They will come back much better for it.

8 ) Don’t gossip. It’s not healthy. And pretty much anything you gossip about at the office can, and likely will, come back to haunt you.

9) Offer praise for a job well done. Often. A brief email acknowledging good work can make someone’s day. And really, who wouldn’t want to make someone’s day??

10) Have a life outside of work. And reserve your right to enjoy it. This circles us back to the story mentioned above, but it’s not just about working moms. If you have passions, interests and people outside of work who are the true focus of your life, you will reflect that in your time and effort inside work…and I promise you will be invited to more of those champagne and cupcakes brainstorms.

*photo via here*

3 Responses leave one →
  1. April 6, 2012

    I so thoroughly believe in #5 and #9 and so few people do it. It goes a really long way.

  2. June 5, 2013

    fantastic post and so true…especially the importance of telling people when a job is well done! that can make all the difference in people sticking around and feeling motivated! I know that when i didn’t have this support everything else was pretty unbearable!

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