Dos & don’ts: 8 ways to be the ideal colleague

By admin

For far too many weeks of the year we are at our second home, work. It’s not really optional, let’s be honest the majority of us wouldn’t work if we didn’t have too (personally I’d rather be sunbathing on a private yacht in Bora Bora) but hey-ho that’s life), so let’s try to be an ideal colleague and make the 2,080+ hours we spend at work as pain free/enjoyable as possible.

You don’t want to be the colleague that tries to be perfect at everything they do (although if you are, well done), but then you’ll probably irritate people with your sheer perfection. On the other hand, you also don’t want to be the person that the whole office is on countdown to go on annual leave, because really you’re a little bit too laidback about everything in life, and the amount of dirty cups that sit molding away on your desk is disturbing.

Here we’ve put together eight ways to be a colleague that everyone will tolerate or may even grow to like:

Don’t miss your deadlines and don’t promise something if you know you can’t deliver, it’s extremely annoying and whoever is depending on your work then can’t complete their own tasks. Remember there are certain people that you definitely shouldn’t annoy, like the Big Boss or Tony. Tony is the guy who is overly generous at after-work drinks and just imagine, Tony is not going to feel like sharing his tray of Jaegers with you if he doesn’t get the report that you promised him. Nobody wants to miss out on free Jaeger, so crack on!


Do offer to make a hot drink. Here in the UK, offering to make someone a cup of tea or coffee can go a long way, and if done to the correct standard it may just be the start of a true friendship!

Don’t arrange pointless meetings! if it can be sent in an email, then send it in an email. There’s always one, you know who you are, who just loves getting people together for meetings about pointless s***.

Gathering more than three people together in a boardroom is a challenge in itself. There’s always one running a little late, someone has to pop out half way through to receive an important call, one person is unsure whether another person is attending, so it’s best that we all wait 5 minutes to see if they turn up! Then a couple haven’t had time for lunch, so now we encourage them to get stuck in which results in the room smelling like a warm tuna sandwich with beef stew. After a fragrant 45 minutes in a room as big as a store cupboard, it then comes to our attention that the whole point of this meeting was to be told that we are changing toilet paper supplier! Is this acceptable?

Do keep the volume of your voice at an appropriate level. FYI, everyone dislikes the person that shouts across the office, especially if it’s to tell someone a joke or annoy Sharon!! “Do you remember?” NO, do not do this, Sharon does not remember your shocking banter. Pick up the phone, dial her extension and then continue exchanging the bantz.

Don’t be late for meetings! It’s quite simple, manage your time correctly. Whether it’s a conference call, a board room meeting or just turning up for your shift, your co-workers time is just as precious as yours, so be a team player and all that and just don’t be late!

Don’t eat smelly food at your desk! So you have lovely homemade fish pie for your lunch? Delicious! Just make sure you eat it in the staff room. The weather is getting warmer (supposedly) and your colleagues across the 2nd floor don’t need the mixed aroma of an Airwick wild strawberry diffuser mixed with warm fish on a sunny afternoon stuck in the office.

Do return office stationery to its rightful owner. Just borrowed Carol’s stapler did we? Well give it back to her. There’s nothing more irritating than when someone borrows an item of stationery, promises to return it, and then doesn’t! Or even worse, when a sneaky co-worker swaps an item of your stationery and replaces it with a broken one. These people are the worst kind of people, and they are not to be trusted.

DON’T… Now this is of major importance… DO NOT use anyone else’s cup. Haven’t got your own mug? Looks like you’re going all day without a brew! Don’t cross that very fine line of using someone else’s mug. Now this is for your own office safety, because if someone finds out that their cup isn’t in the cupboard, they will look for you, they will find you, and they will hurt you (probably not, but it’s not a risk worth taking).

If you can get through the 2080+ work hours in the year by roughly sticking to these do’s and don’ts, there is an actually possibility that you will form a friendly bond with your colleagues. It seems like a simple task, but to some it may be a challenge.

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