Playing Well With Others

03 August 17

Hi Bonjour Hello Hola Aloha!


Do you remember back in grade school, when your teacher would sit your desk next to someone you didn’t like? Naturally you’d complain, and the response would be something along the lines of, “It’s just a seat, you don’t have to be best friends.”


For these few minutes, think of the office as your old classroom… grade school for adults. Hi everyone! Jaime Marie here again, and this week I’m writing to you about playing well with others in the workplace – from seating arrangements to sharing, here are some tips on how to survive and strive in your adult classroom.


The key to being a good employee is to be the coworker you wish others were; clean, prompt, considerate and positive.


Squeaky Clean


Monday through Friday you spend at least 1/3 of your time at your workplace, and are influenced and impacted by your environment daily. If your desk neighbor is a slob, has old banana peels stinking up their trashcan, and leaves used tissues all over their desk- THAT becomes your everyday view.


The negative impact of an unsanitary workplace is gradual, but inevitable. What we touch, smell and see all have an effect on our mood and productivity. A squalid environment leaves staff with little desire to make an effort.


Each individual should be responsible for cleaning his or her work area. That’s an easy way to show your respect toward coworkers:


  • Clean up your trash
  • Don’t leave out old food (nobody likes to smell what you’ve eaten…yuck)
  • Make sure you have non-spill containers for liquids
  • Participate in the keeping-up of the employee kitchen area


Bringing up germs opens up a whole new book of worms, so I’ll sum it up really quickly with six short words: DO NOT COME TO WORK SICK! Germs in the office spread like wildfire. Don’t trigger the domino effect.


Got Gossip?


Gossip- terribly destructive, totally unnecessary, non-productive and disrespectful.


A new study by Georgia Institute of Technology examined the effects of gossip in the workplace. It wasn’t pretty. Gossip is information spread for the purpose of entertainment of others. It’s 2.7 times more likely to be negative than positive, and leads to a toxic culture.


It’s human nature to have an itch to know the silly secrets floating around the office…but fight the urge! Start each morning with a reminder to yourself you will not be a part of spreading the gossip.


An important thing to keep in mind as a bystander is to do something about the gossip if it seems to be getting out of control.


Take action if the gossip is…

  • disrupting the workplace
  • hurting employees’ feelings
  • damaging interpersonal relationships
  • injuring employee motivation and morale


The best way to deal with workplace gossip? AVOID IT! Here’s some tips on how:


  • Commit to a goal of no negative chatter about others
  • Practice changing the subject when others come up
  • Learn to walk away
  • Don’t spread the news you overhear




I was asked to think of a term many employees would use while choosing a candidate for a new job or promotion, and one immediately came to mind: team player. According to Steve Kass, the president for the Great Plains district of Robert Half International (an American human resource consulting firm based in California), “Someone who can put the team goals and the team accountability ahead of their own individual situation is the one you want on your team.”


Show your dedication to the team, and make it clear that you’re proud to be a part of it. Here are a few tips on how to make that happen…


  • Meet your deadlines- become someone everyone else can depend on


  • Be candid, but sensitive – many appreciate suggestions


  • Adapt quickly – offer to change the way you work If it seems like it would help your teammates


  • Appreciate others’ work styles – the best teams are a combination of several different skills


  • Always be on time – show that you respect other people’s time


  • My old band teacher lives by the line, “if you’re early you’re on time, if you’re on time you’re late”.


  • Give credit where credit is due – don’t withhold credit from deserving coworkers; you’ll alienate them, and they won’t be there for you when you need them


Before acquiring this glorious internship with HR Strategy Group, I was previously a lifeguard at my neighborhood pool. My four summers spent within those fences taught me exactly what employers love most in their employees – accountability, diligence, and the ability to work well with a team.


Playing well in the workplace is a job all in itself. You must be considerate of feelings, take care of yourself, stay clean, and work hard at your job. Talk about multitasking! In the end, it’s all about being a friendly face that others look forward to seeing each morning after drudging themselves into the office. Say hi, learn the magic of small talk, be generous with compliments, and stay positive. Make your adult classroom as friendly and enjoyable as you possibly can. You don’t have to be best friends with the person whose desk is next to yours, but wouldn’t it be more fun if you got along?



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