17 Terrific Tips to be a Great Coworker
To support getting our jobs done and serving our clients, we each develop an individual work style. If our coworkers are put out or put off by our actions, it detracts from a pleasant, productive office environment. Consider these suggestions to be a great coworker.
- Say please and thank you.
- Smile at people when you pass in the hall.
- Learn your job and use the authority you have been given. Avoid asking others questions you should know the answers to yourself.
- Acknowledge your coworkers for doing a great job.
- Practice respectful meeting etiquette. Be on time, be prepared, and participate by listening and responding. Turn off all electronic devices. If you need to take a call, leave the room promptly.
- Don’t waste coworkers’ time. Be conscious of taking someone’s time unnecessarily whether it’s work related or personal.
- Telephone etiquette. Do not use a speaker phone in an open workspace. Answer the phone no later than the third ring. Turn off the ringer on your mobile phone.
- Watch your talking style. Keep your voice low so as not to disrupt others. Speak only as loud as necessary to be heard by the other party. Never swear. It is unprofessional and offensive.
- Don’t whine or gossip. If you have a complaint, speak to someone who can do something about it, either your boss or the person in charge. Offer a solution if you can.
- If it’s broken, fix it or tell somebody. If you find electronic devices, office furniture, or building issues that need repair or attention, take the initiative to report it to get it fixed.
- Practice considerate break room etiquette. If you make a mess, clean it up. Do your own dishes. Close cabinet doors. If you take the last cup of coffee, make more.
- Minimize personal calls. You’re at work to work. Set boundaries with family and friends as to your availability.
- Keep an odor-free workspace. Don’t eat anything smelly at your desk and don’t use personal fragrance.
- Respect another person’s space. Do not use someone’s phone, computer, or work area without his or her permission.
- Leave your private life at the door. Don’t reveal too much information about your personal life to coworkers. Save it for family and close friends.
- Be a model for the behavior you want your coworkers to have. Timeliness, accuracy, and courtesy are just a few.
- Keep your views of politics, religion, and social issues to yourself.
Circulate this. Post it in the breakroom. Keeping this list visible will help avoid friction. Stay focused on what you’re at work to do.
Emily Huling, CIC, CMC helps the insurance industry create top-performing sales, service, and leadership organizations. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Emily is a frequent presenter at industry conferences, on the national faculty of the Society of CIC, and is the author of Great Service Sells, Selling from the Inside, and Kick Your ‘But.’ For information on her products and consulting services and to subscribe to her free monthly newsletter, visit www.sellingstrategies.com.