Business Management |

Be yourself but be aware that you are sharing the workplace with others.

Is your communication style aging you in the workplace? Is your behavior such that others do not want to be around you? You may not even realize it. Honestly, this is something that we all can improve on. The workplace is a melting pot of generations, expectations and more. This is not your home. If you have been in the workplace for a while now as I have, it has changed around you. We may still be faxing but we have other technology that helps us daily. We do things better and faster. Each workplace, organization and industry have their own lingo but on top of that add workplace appropriate vocabulary.

My top 10 workplace tips

1. The conference room is not your personal office or your bedroom at home. This is shared space and most likely should be reserved.

2. Mute or silence your cell phone. No one needs to hear your incoming text messages all day.

3. Clean up after yourself in the kitchen and bathroom. I hope I don’t have to say more.

4. Do not eat someone else’s food. If you really need or want someone else’s food, just ask them. If you accidentally eat someone else’s food, tell them or leave a note. Telling them is better.

5. Don’t be a hermit. People do want to know you.

6. Try to keep the mission and culture of the organization in mind daily. Are you doing what you should be doing? Make sure you are doing your job and what you have been tasked with. If you are unsure, you really should ask.

7. Be friendly and polite.

8. Call people by their name. If you do not know someone’s name, just ask.

9. No longer use these words: girl, young lady, son or boy. These are not appropriate for the workplace. Again, instead, use the person’s name.

10. Be yourself but be aware that you are sharing the workplace with others.

Well, what do you think? Should be no shockers here. Sorry if I burst your bubble on a few of these items but honestly, it is time. Some of these things are truly offensive and need to be stopped. Would you like to be called young lady? Young lady is the term for a young girl who is being scolded. After more than 20 years of experience in the workplace, do not call me ‘young lady’.

How do I feel about honey, sweetie or hon? Well, this is complicated for me. When I moved to Southern Illinois in 1998, I realized that I was in the south and I liked it. There are sweet tea and gooey butter cake. People were outwardly open with hugs and kindness. Oddly enough, I am also from Illinois and no, not Chicago. Many here use terms like honey and sweetie even as I called them to schedule interviews for employment. Both men and women used these terms so I learned to excuse it. Maybe that was a mistake but I feel that if someone is using this term for everyone, I can live with it. I do not advocate this language in the workplace and I have had to speak to those that use it and ask them to refrain when at work. Never is foul language or name calling encouraged nor should it be allowed. I am not a perfect person and I like to believe that most people get up in the morning planning to come to work and do their jobs.

Let me close with these thoughts. Southern Illinois is truly full of hard-working, amazing and friendly people. We should be working together more to help and improve the situation for everyone. To those that are already doing that, thank you. Everyone else, let’s pitch in and remember what a great place this is. Brag about it — brag about us. This is a great place to live and work. Thank you, Southern Illinois, and keep up the good work.

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Angela Holmes is a HRCI certified human resource expert, writer and public speaker. She is best known for her human resource career in Williamson and Jefferson counties. Angela is the Vice President of Human Resources at National Railway Equipment Co. (NRE) and can be reached at angelaeholmes2@gmail.com, follow her on Twitter at @Angela_Holmes_1 and Instagram at @aholmes91


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