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Work and Office Tips

Read these 14 Work and Office Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Relationship tips and hundreds of other topics.

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How do you handle office romances?

Office Romance

If you find yourself in a relationship with a co-worker, try to keep it as lowkey as possible. Don't let everyone around you know about it. Don't encourage people in the office to talk to you about it and don't allow any open displays of affection in your office setting.
This is not to suggest that you keep your relationship a secret {unless your workplace has rules against it} but you should keep the appearances of strictly friendship or others around you will be uncomfortable and judgemental.

An office romance is one of those things that complicates relationships not only with the person you're dating, but also with your co-workers.

Is dating a co-worker forbidden?

Dating a co-worker: forbidden?

Common wisdom is that dating a co-worker is bad ... very bad. That said, I do know of co-worker relationships that turned into happy marriages. There are a number of tips on this site to help make it work, but know going in that this is going to be difficult, and be sure you are prepared to face the challenges. Also remember that the co-worker may *seem* perfect because you are interacting in an environment that is ripe for emotional relationships. Be sure to factor that into your decision - that is really the person, and not just the circumstances, that appeal to you.

How do you stay in touch?

Get Out and About

Sometimes if you work from home for too long you can start to lose your 'people skills' - everything gets rusty from disuse! Be sure to set aside time to get out and meet with friends, go to seminars, chat with people in your area of interest. You'll find it will truly help you stay connected with what you are doing.

Can't find a group in your area? Post signs and perhaps make a webpage looking for people to start one!

Working from home

Separate Work and Home

I've worked from home, and know just how easy it is to blur the lines of 'work' and 'home'. Don't let work take over your time with your partner and family! Be sure to 'leave' your office and truly pay attention to those who are important to you. You'll find when you go back to work that you're far more refreshed and productive. Your family, of course, will appreciate it, too!

How do I handle people who are always late?


People being late can have a serious effect on timetables, and on the perceived sense of respect people have for each other. If someone is late for a meeting, the others in the meeting might think it's because that person does not respect them enough to show up on time.

If the meeting is during a work day, make sure that everyone has tools to help remind them of meetings. There are enough PC packages out there that beep and flash when meetings are imminent to make this easy. Do not berate someone for being absent-minded ... give them a tool to help fix the problem.

If these are early morning meetings, reevaluate if they really must start that early. Some people are simply not morning people, and might sleep through alarms without meaning to. Consider these issues and look into scheduling the meeting an hour later, or in the afternoon. The slight hassle of rearranging meeting times will be more than made up in more coherent discussion and better morale.

Why do work relationships start?

Why do work relationships start?

It's almost inevitable that people at work are attracted to each other - they see each other every day, they work together on projects that they get a sense of accomplishment out of. They spend far more time with each other than real spouses or partners do. Often this can be "rewarding time" - eating a lunch together or finishing a proposal - instead of chore time and family time.

Realize these things before you consider a work relationship - that the whole environment in which you operate is much different than a normal relationship, and might make a person "seem" to be a better match than he or she actually is.

This person at work pries into my personal life. What should I do?

Coworkers talking behind your back

One exists in just about every company - the busybody who loves to talk about peoples' personal lives. These people want to be paid attention to, and want to feel better about themselves. They do so by having juicy gossip about other people and by berating and belittling them.

Asking the person to stop rarely works. These people thrive on attention. You are unlikely to change their self-esteem either, convincing them to stop putting others down. If the person is having an effect on your work environment, talk to your boss or to personnel and explain what is going on. They should be able to bring a general complaint against the babbler, telling her that her attitude is affecting workplace morale. Be prepared, though, that she might blame you for this and use her energies to make things more difficult for you.

The most effective way to get these people to stop is to remove her audience. Talk to the people she babbles on to, and discuss her behavior. If she finds an unreceptive ear for her badmouthing, she will seek attention in a different, and hopefully more constructive, manner.

What if I work from home?

A Dad At Home

While it's more and more acceptable for a woman to work at home, it's still often rough for a man to be the 'househusband', even if he does work from home. Realize that this is still an unusual thing for many, and they're going to be curious and talkative about it. Your own happiness is what matters - if this is a good decision for you, let the questioners know!

Should I tell people that I´m dating a co-worker?

Dating in the office: low key

If you are dating a co-worker, one key thing to do is keep it low-key and quiet. Don't tell people you are dating. There is always the chance you can break up, and you don't want to go through the aftermath that will bring, if everyone is watching and talking about it and taking sides. It's best not to tell anyone you are dating until you are really serious about each other, and make the decision to take things public.

Once you do that, people will start to second-guess the way you work together professionally. That's part of why it's important that you work in separate departments, with far separate spheres of influence.

Should I date someone in my department?

Don't date within your own department

While dating within the same company is iffy at best, dating within the same department is almost never a good idea. Departments need to work together in an unbiased manner, setting priorities and making decisions. If two people within a department date, then every decision they make - which task to work on first, how much time to spend working on X - will be second-guessed by the rest of the department, and indeed the company.

What if my boss is younger than me?

My boss is too young!

Some people have difficulties if their boss is younger - they feel their boss does not have enough experience or knowledge to effectively manage them.

Remember, your boss' job is to communicate with you, work with you and help you do your job well. If you feel he is handling something improperly, or not taking something into consideration, try to set yourself in the role of a "helpful employee". Do not tell him what he is doing wrong, but ask to discuss with him the situation in general. Present your insights into the matter in a proactive and helpful manner. You'll probably find that he'll appreciate your insight, and begin to look at you as a resource. His job, after all, is not to do your job. You should do your job, and his job is to help you.

If he's insecure about you offering suggestions, that's another tip ;)


Work At Home – Stay Focused

Working at home is not for everyone. People that require daily contact with co-workers or others to provide motivation and discipline should think twice before setting up a home office. On the other side, you do not have to commute, your hours are more flexible and owning a business in the home allows tax breaks. If you have made the decision that becoming an entrepreneur is for you, here are some tips to help your success.

1. Become ultra-organized. This will increase productivity and keep you focused and on track.
2. Set up a strict structure when you ‘go to your office' and when you ‘leave the office'. Treat this time as if you were actually leaving the house for a job.
3. Network with other people that are working in the home. You will feel less isolated and pick up good ideas for keeping structured focus on the job.
4. Create a professional website for the business. This is not a hobby.
5. Use online communities in your business area. A wealth of ideas is available online.
6. Have the best resources you can afford. It is difficult to maintain a high business level if you are using old office equipment or dial up Internet access.
7. Keep all of your personal and professional contacts in tact. Email them regularly and call them when it is appropriate. You never know how these contacts can help you become successful in your new business.


Office Romances and Maintaining Boundaries

Romances and relationships are hard enough without combining matters of the heart with the work environment. There are many variables when it comes to working and romancing at the same time. If this is happening to you, be smart and follow some guidelines to keep the office romance in check and within professional boundaries.

1. Try to resist the office romance between a supervisor and subordinate. The imbalance of power could become a problem after a breakup. However, if the relationship exists, each partner should sign a statement saying the relationship is consensual. This agreement stops any nasty discrimination or harassment problems down the road.
2. Avoid even an appearance of sexual favors in the situation. Other staffers may notice and it could be grounds for discrimination lawsuits.
3. It matters what your customers and business associates think. If any of them become uncomfortable with the relationship, there may be potential problems when it comes to the reputation of the company.
4. If a breakup happens – which statistically it will, try not to gossip with your co-workers about who was right or wrong. This is spilled milk and causes friction among the staff.
5. Sex and relationship issues cause tension in an office setting like no other problem. Think ahead and it may not be worth starting this relationship.

Why does my boss feel threatened by my suggestions?

Your boss won't listen

Some bosses are insecure. They feel threatened by a subordinate that has better ideas than they do - they feel like this "shows them up." If you have a boss like this, you can try to show him that you are not a threat - that you truly want to help the department as a whole do better. This is a long, difficult task, but it is possible with patience and perseverence.

Know before you set out on this task that it will not be easy, though, and judge if your love for your job is worth this effort. In the end, despite your best efforts, he may still be an insecure, threatened person. You can either understand this and work with this knowledge, or find somewhere else where a boss would respect what you have to offer.

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Guru Spotlight
Barbara Gibson