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Workplace Etiquette

Having good etiquette at the workplace is extremely important apart from talent and qualifications to be a favorite in your office. However, it has been observed that many, young as well as middle aged professionals, are not aware of the workplace etiquette guidelines and this creates a very bad impression in the office. The workplace etiquette tips mentioned in the next few paragraphs will help you to maintain a professional appearance.

 
Among all the workplace etiquette guidelines, the most important is to be punctual to your office. Though going late due to an emergency is okay, habitual late comers are never appreciated in any organization. By arriving at your office on time, you show that you are aware of your responsibilities and have respect for the organization. In case you feel that you would be late, then calling the concerned authority and reporting the matter to him would be a good business etiquette in the workplace. More on workplace ethics.

 
The workplace etiquette guidelines for behavior in the office are many. Many times, you will have to communicate with the co-workers of your office working at another location or your clients located in any part of the world. In such instances, a proper knowledge of the workplace email etiquette is a must. In the official e-mails, you need to clearly mention the subject and be concise. While at the same time include all the important details which are to be shared. You should use good and grammatically correct language while writing e-mails. Always use correct and relevant recipients – e.g. ‘reply all’ or mass mailing should be used sparingly and only when absolutely necessary.

 
A knowledge of telephone etiquette in the workplace is very essential as we all have to speak on the telephone at some point during our daily work. While talking to your managers or colleagues on the telephone, be polite and listen to what they are saying carefully. Only then should you say what you feel. Speak in a voice which would be heard clearly at the other end as any wrong interpretation of information can cause big blunders in the office.

 
The workplace etiquette guidelines are important even while you are dining or celebrating with your coworkers. If you get a call in between, then seek the permission of the others by saying excuse me and then receive the call. Do not talk loudly while eating. Be very careful while interacting with the other employees and especially with female employees. Greet people well and try to make them feel comfortable while being in your company. You should remember that your behavior and manners are under observation and this can play a very vital role in your promotions and increments. Any company would always want decent, well behaved and smart people to occupy the topmost positions and guide the company towards the set targets. So, any kind of misbehavior can destroy your advancement prospects to a great extent. Following a dress code for the office is a good practice.

One of the most important of all the workplace etiquette guidelines is to avoid indulging in activities such as bad mouthing fellow workers or even the company you work for in front of others or gossiping. You should be mature enough to understand that in an organization, everyone is given an equal opportunity to excel in his/her work and office politics will help you in no way to get ahead.

The only way of achieving what you wish, is to deliver better performances every time you get an opportunity. Try to complete your targets in the time allotted to you and be assured of getting good returns for your hard work.

Hard Work

Most people will do what’s easiest and avoid hard work — and that’s precisely why you should do the opposite. The superficial opportunities of life will be attacked by hordes of people seeking what’s easy. The much tougher challenges will usually see a lot less competition and a lot more opportunity.

Strong challenge is commonly connected with strong results. Sure you can get lucky every once in a while and find an easy path to success. But will you be able to maintain that success, or is it just a fluke? Will you be able to repeat it? Once other people learn how you did it, will you find yourself overloaded with competition?

When you discipline yourself to do what is hard, you gain access to a realm of results that are denied everyone else. The willingness to do what is difficult is like having a key to a special private treasure room.

The nice thing about hard work is that it’s universal. It doesn’t matter what your job role is — hard work can be used to achieve positive long-term results regardless of the specifics.

We used this same philosophy in building this company. We seek people that are not easily found, with skills that are not easily acquired.  I try to address the unusual needs of our clients that other people don’t and bypass the low hanging fruit. We strive to understand the new roads that our clients are cutting through the frontier of product development even when they are not yet ready to define those roads. We do lots of reading and research. We find exceptional people and must accept the fact that sometimes those people are taken from us by our clients. We do not get paid for our time, but just as each of you are paid, we are paid for our accomplishments. This is not easy work, but being anything but average requires hard work.

Hard work pays off. When someone tells you otherwise, beware the sales pitch for something “fast and easy” that’s about to come next. The greater your capacity for hard work, the more rewards fall within your grasp. The deeper you can dig, the more treasure you can potentially find.

Being healthy is hard work. Finding and maintaining a successful relationship is hard work. Raising kids is hard work. Getting organized is hard work. Setting goals, making plans to achieve them, and staying on track is hard work. Even being happy is hard work.

Hard work goes hand-in-hand with acceptance. One of the things you must accept are those areas of your life that won’t succumb to anything less than hard work. Perhaps you’ve had no luck finding a fulfilling relationship. Maybe the only way it’s going to happen is if you accept you’re going to have to do what you’ve been avoiding. Perhaps you want to lose weight. Maybe it’s time to accept that the path to your goal requires disciplined diet and exercise (both hard work). Perhaps you want to increase your income. Maybe you should accept that the only way it will happen is with a lot of hard work. To be more than average, do the hard work.
Best Career Advice Ever

(K. Hedges, forbes.com)

The reality is that a whole lot of career stuff is situational. What works for one person, or in one company, doesn’t do so well elsewhere. That said, there are a few, consistent pieces of advice that hold up anywhere, for any level of professional. Follow these, and you’ll fast-track your own career. 

  1. If you see a fire, run into it.

 

In chaos, there is opportunity. Most major career accelerations happen when someone steps into a mess and makes a difference. In the technology sector, people will remark that one year in a start-up is like five years in an established company. There’s ample opportunity to stretch your wings, wear many hats, and create a name for yourself when there’s not a set plan to follow. You can find the same opportunity in any organization, if you seek it. 

 

  1. Follow up.

 

If, as Woody Allen made famous, 80% of life is showing up — then 90% of career success is following up. Our organizations are rife with lack of accountability, whether by intention or incompetence. Be the person who meets deadlines, holds others accountable, and heck, even remembers to say thanks when it’s due. Following through on your commitments is trust-building, and the opposite erodes it quickly and indelibly. 

 

  1. Tell the truth.

 

Truthfulness seems a bit obvious to be on this list. However, companies are rife with damaging lies of omission. In an effort to look good, and not cause waves, we don’t express our truthful opinion. Being brave enough to respectfully state the truth in a politically astute way sets you apart. Most good managers want to hear dissenting opinion; they crave more information not “yes” people. Expressing a difference of opinion actually helps your career. 

 

  1. Treat everyone as an equal.

 

Respect has a place at work, but not deference. Being relaxed and confident in front of authority elevates your own brand. People see you the way you see yourself. The same goes for those down the chain. Introduce your subordinates as colleagues, not staff. They’ll see you, and themselves, more favorably.

 

  1. Pull yourself up with one hand, and reach back to others with the opposite one.

 

It is extremely common feedback that a leader manages up well, but not down. This works for a while, but turns out you have to be seen favorably by all levels to succeed.  The inability to build and maintain a team is the top reason organizations fail.

 

 

  1. Make valuable offers to others.

 

Every day in our organizations, we see areas that could be helped, or processes that should be fixed. We let them slip by because of time, political boundaries, or not wanting to speak up. When you see something that you can affect — don’t wait to be asked — make a proactive offer to help. (Or, if appropriate, just do it.) Even if you aren’t taken up on the offer, the fact that you cared enough to make it speaks volumes about your character and your initiative.

 

  1. Show gratitude.

 

No one succeeds on their own. Even if things don’t entirely go your way, there are still reasons to be grateful for the opportunities you’ve been given. Gratitude is a dying emotion in corporate America, where we can easily make a spirited case for our own entitlement vis-a-vis the faceless giant. We too often forget to say thanks for the opportunities and rewards we’ve been given — both large and small. Yes, you earned them. But you can still say thanks.

Customer Satisfaction

Every week, you hear me say, “Keep your boss happy.”  The simple reason why I say that and why I want you to hear it is because the success we enjoy is born as a result of providing our customers with the level of assistance and service that leaves them satisfied. That is why you were hired. That is why our client continues to depend on you. Because you can and do keep the customer satisfied.

Below are a few quotes that you may find useful in remembering what our focus should be as we go about our daily work lives. Hopefully, they help you in your efforts to be of service and keep your bosses happy.

 “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” ~Charles Darwin

All of you work in an environment where change is a constant and it is important that we be able to be responsive to the change that comes. Adaptability allows you to keep the customer happy regardless of what happens.

It is not the employer who pays the wages. Employers only handle the money. It is the customer who pays the wages.” ~Henry Ford

Your employment agreement says that you will be paid for all hours approved by the client. The client will approve hours that have brought them satisfaction with the work produced. Keep the customer happy and your continued pay check is assured.

“If you do build a great experience, customers tell each other about that. Word of mouth is very powerful.”  ~Jeff Bezos, CEO Amazon.com

When you move on to your next assignment, you want a happy customer telling others about the quality and level of work you have done for them.

Thanks and Gratitude

It’s been a roller-coaster of a first year for me as President of NWCS. We’ve had new faces join us as well as having to say goodbye to old friends; we’ve also added new clients, while old ones have downsized. On the whole, I think we have weathered the year well – we implemented new benefits such as education reimbursement; paid time off; and coming in the New Year, a new and improved 401k savings plan.

Personally and professionally, I have much to be thankful for; this job has been every bit as challenging and exciting as I expected. I enjoy it very much and I particularly enjoy my interactions with you. However, because you are all so spread out in different locations and I don’t get to see each of you regularly, I want to express a few thoughts in this final newsletter of 2014:

Thank you…” We get so wrapped up in the process of managing a business, dealing with the requirements of our customers and trying to find the people we need to meet our customers’ needs that we overlook doing the most basic of things… like saying thank you.

I know very well that you have a choice in terms of employers. Since we do not impose a non-compete on you in our contracts, you are always free to choose to leave and go elsewhere. I appreciate the fact that you choose to work with Northwest Contract Services. Additionally, I thank you for being professional in your work performance and responsible in the tasks that you take on. I thank you for getting your timesheets in on a timely basis. I thank you for being the interesting, smart, capable people that you are each day. I thank you for helping to build our company’s reputation.

I’m amazed by the things you can do…” Though I am an Engineer by training – it’s been a while since I’ve ‘practiced’. I cannot do any of the things that all of you do each and every week… not even the easy stuff, to say nothing of the amazing things that you accomplish when you really put your minds to work.

I care about the things that bother you…” The fact that the person sitting next to you in the lab talks too loud and bores you with his/her long stories; The fact that your child is ill; The fact that you are worried about how much longer your current project will last. The fact that your computer blue screens once in a while; I care about the fact that these things are in your life, but I can’t always do anything about those issues. I am willing to listen and to do what I can to help.

I’m sorry you feel let down…” Growing the company is a process that I undertook as much for your benefit as for my own. We do not see our employees as temporary employees. I like to believe that we have a mutually beneficial relationship and that everyone will be with us for years to come. Believing this, I want to be sure that we have as many doors open to us as possible so that we can be sure that we can find new work for you when your current assignment ends. The more clients and groups we have open and the more people we have working with us who are keeping their eyes open for new requirements, the safer and more secure all of our employees can be. The bigger our group, the better the rates we can get on your employee benefits. The bigger the group the more our client’s managers feel that trusting a NWCS employee with the work will assure that it is done well.

We have had to grow, and at the same time undergo some contractions. That growth has changed some of the things that those of us who have been here for a long time have liked best about our company. This growth, however, has allowed us to expand our benefits and be a better employer. My promise to you is that we will strive harder at making ourselves available to you, so that we can together keep NWCS a good place to work, and while not the close family we used to be, we can be an extended family that helps each other to find success.

Thanks again and my sincerest wishes to you all for a safe and happy holiday season.

Gabe

Rough Day at the Office

Work is stressful. There are deadlines to meet, bosses to please, customers to help, and it can feel like people are pulling you from every direction. Before you have a Meltdown and pull the emergency chute — whatever it may be at your workplace — take time to reflect and find ways to survive your worst days at work.

1. Don’t promise what you can’t deliver

Everyone wants to look like a superhero at work who can get everything done. But there are only 40 hours in a work week, so don’t take on too much or you’ll look worse for not getting it all done. Your boss will be disappointed when you can’t get the job done in time, so it’s best to think ahead on this recommendation and not promise something you can’t complete.

2. Don’t skip breakfast or lunch

 

Just like a child in school, regular meals are important to keep the mind and body working at work. If you’re having a bad day at work and feel stressed, think about whether you skipped a meal on that day. Chances are you did and were too rushed to eat. Mom was right: Breakfast is important.

3. Remind yourself of what’s really important

 

Photos of your family on your desk can help remind you, but if you’re away from your desk, stop and take a breath and remember what’s most important in your life. Your children, for example, are more important than the most stressful work task. Your purpose in life isn’t to get stressed at work. Repeat until your breathing is under control.

4. Get a hobby that make you happy

 

Just like reminding yourself what’s really important when you’re stressed out at work, having a hobby to get to when you get home can make the problems at work less of a headache. This step includes having a life outside of work, meaning you’re not working long hours and have something to talk about other than what’s going on at work. Find a sport, reading group or anything else that relaxes you to keep you occupied with anything other than work when you’re away from work.

5. Learn to manage your boss

 

This is a tough one, but if you can figure out how to manage your boss, your life will be a lot easier. It will take some trial and error, and learning from other employees, but it will keep him or her out of your hair and allow you to do your work to your best abilities. Find out if your boss is a micromanager and wants constant updates; if so, provide them. If your boss is more hands off, then enjoy it and find out how often they want to know what you’re up to. Empathize with your boss to help them become better at what they do.

6. Ask for help when you need it

 

You don’t have to deal by yourself with a problem. If you’re overwhelmed at work, ask for help. You’d be surprised at how many co-workers will come forward to help out. When asking someone to join your project, be sure to remind them that you “owe them one” when they need help.

Respect

Do you wonder why some people naturally gain respect, while others have to command or, worse, demand it?

Earning respect is in direct correlation to treating others with the same. Showing respect sounds like a basic skill, and yet somehow complaints about being disrespected run rampant around coffee rooms and bathrooms in companies around the country.

Are parents and teachers shirking their responsibility for turning everyone into good little citizens that can play well with others? Perhaps, but more likely, cultural norms have changed. Families allow for greater familiarity, and schools are more focused on test scores and class sizes than they are on teaching little Johnny and Susie to stand out as leaders.

But whether you are the leader in charge or a contributing team member, your ability to earn respect will impact your emotional happiness and ultimate career trajectory. Some people in authority believe they are entitled to respect simply due to their position or experience, but this sort of respect diminishes over time and can ultimately hurt your career.

Here are six tips to help you be the person who earns respect rather than just demands it.

1. Be consistent.

If you find you lack credibility, it’s probably because you are saying one thing and doing another. People do pay attention to what you say until you give them reason not to by doing the opposite. You don’t have to be predictable, just don’t be a hypocrite.

2. Be punctual.

Nothing. loses respect for someone than being made to wait. Time is the most valuable commodity for successful people. Missing appointments or being late demonstrates a total disregard for the lives and needs of others. Get control of your calendar.

3. Be responsive.

The challenge today is there are too many ways to communicate. Between Twitter, Facebook, Messenger, text, phone, Skype, and Facetime, people are in a quandary to know what is the best way to reach you. And even with all the channels, some people still don’t respond in a timely manner, leaving colleagues hanging or chasing them. Limit your channels and respond within 24 hours if you want to appear communication worthy.

4. Be right much of the time, but be comfortable being wrong.

The simple way to be right is to do your homework and state facts that are well thought out. Still, you may have to make a best guess now and then even when information is too scarce to know for sure. Take it as a qualified risk, manage expectations, and if you’re wrong, smile and be happy you learned something that day.

5. Forgive others and yourself for mistakes.

If you’re not erring, you’re not trying. Healthy leaders encourage experimentation and create environments of safe failure. Encourage people to take mitigated risks, and set an example for how to shake off a failure and bounce back.

6. Show respect to others when they are wrong and right

Disparaging people who make errors will reflect worse on you than those who err. On the flip side, any jealous tendencies toward those who succeed will surely be noticed by those around. Live as if in a glass body. Assume all can see inside your heart.

Effective Work Relationships

You can submarine your career and work relationships by the actions you take and the behaviors you exhibit at work. No matter your education, your experience, or your title, if you can’t play well with others, you will never accomplish your work mission.

Effective work relationships form the cornerstone for success and satisfaction with your job and your career. How important are effective work relationships? They form the basis for promotion, pay increases, goal accomplishment, and job satisfaction.

A supervisor in a several hundred person company quickly earned a reputation for not playing well with others. He collected data and used the data to find fault, place blame, and make other employees look bad. He enjoyed identifying problems but rarely suggested solutions.

He bugged his supervisor weekly for a bigger title and more money so he could tell other employees what to do. When he announced he was job hunting, not a single employee suggested that the company take action to convince him to stay. He had burned his bridges.

These are the top seven ways you can play well with others at work. They form the basis for effective work relationships. These are the actions you want to take to create a positive, empowering, motivational work environment for people.

 

  • Bring suggested solutions with the problems to the meeting table.Some employees spend an inordinate amount of time identifying problems. Honestly? That’s the easy part. Thoughtful solutions are the challenge that will earn respect and admiration from coworkers and bosses

 

  • Don’t ever play the blame game.You alienate coworkers, supervisors, and reporting staff. Yes, you may need to identify who was involved in a problem. You may even ask the Deming question: what about the work system caused the employee to fail? But, not my fault and publicly identifying and blaming others for failures will earn enemies. These enemies will, in turn, help you to fail. You do need allies at work.

 

  • Your verbal and nonverbal.  If you talk down to another employee, use sarcasm, or sound nasty, the other employee hears you. We are all radar machines that constantly scope out our environment.In one organization a high level manager said to me, “I know you don’t think I should scream at my employees. But, sometimes, they make me so mad. When is it appropriate for me to scream at the employees?” Answer? Never, of course, if respect for people is a hallmark of your organization.

 

  • Never blind side a coworker, boss, or reporting staff person.If the first time a coworker hears about a problem is in a staff meeting or from an email sent to his supervisor, you have blindsided the coworker. Always discuss problems, first, with the people directly involved who “own” the work system. Also called lynching or ambushing your coworkers, you will never build effective work alliances unless your coworkers trust you. And, without alliances, you never accomplish the most important goals.

 

  • Keep your commitments. In an organization, work is interconnected. If you fail to meet deadlines and commitments, you affect the work of other employees. Always keep commitments, and if you can’t, make sure all affected employees know what happened. Provide a new due date and make every possible effort to honor the new deadline.

 

  • Share credit for accomplishments, ideas, and contributions.How often do you accomplish a goal or complete a project with no help from others? If you are a manager, how many of the great ideas you promote were contributed by staff members? Take the time, and expend the energy, to thank, reward, recognize and specify contributions of the people who help you succeed. This is a no-fail approach to building effective work relationships.

 

Help other employees find their greatness. Every employee in your organization has talents, skills, and experience. If you can help fellow employees harness their best abilities, you benefit the organization immeasurably. The growth of individual employees benefits the whole. Compliment, recognize, praise, and notice contributions. You don’t have to be a manager to help create a positive, motivating environment for employees. In this environment, employees do find and contribute their greatness

Five Things You Should Say To Your Colleagues

“That was great how you…” No one receives enough praise. No one. Pick someone who did something well and tell them.

Feel free to go back in time. Saying, “I was just thinking about how you handled that project last year…” can make just as positive an impact today as it would have then. (Maybe a little more impact, because you still remember what happened a year later.) Surprise praise is a gift that costs the giver nothing but is priceless to the recipient.

“Can you help me…?” One of my biggest regrets is not asking a fellow supervisor for help. I was given the lead on a project he really wanted. To his credit, he swallowed his pride—he was senior to me in tenure and perceived status—and told me he would be happy to help in any way he could.

Even though I could tell he really wanted to participate, I never let him. I decided to show I could handle the project alone. I let my ego be more important than his feelings.

Asking someone for help implicitly recognizes their skills and value. Saying, “Can you help me?” is the same as saying, “You’re great at that.”

And there’s a bonus: You get help.

“I’m sorry I didn’t…” We’ve all screwed up. There are things we need to apologize for: Words. Actions. Omissions. Failing to step up, or step in, or simply be supportive.

Say you’re sorry. And don’t follow up your apology with a disclaimer like, “But I was really upset…” or, “I thought you were…” or any statement that in any way places even the tiniest amount of blame back on the other person.

Say you’re sorry, say why you’re sorry, and take all the blame. No less. No more.

“Can I help you…?” Then flip it around. In some organizations, asking for help is seen as a sign of weakness. Many people naturally hesitate to ask. But everyone needs help.

Don’t just say, “Is there anything I can help you with?” Most people will automatically say, “No, I’m all right.” Be specific. Say, “I’ve got a few minutes… can I help you finish that?”

Offer in a way that feels collaborative, not patronizing or gratuitous.

And then actually help.

“I’m sorry I let you down.” I was assigned a project in a different department. It was a project I definitely didn’t want. So, to my discredit, I let it slide. I let other people take up my slack and focused on projects I was more interested in.

To his credit, my manager had stuck his neck out to get me the project so I could get broader exposure but I, well, didn’t care. Eventually my manager said, “Everyone knows you’re really busy, so they have decided to handle it themselves.”

I felt bad but I never said, “I know you were trying to help me. I’m sorry I let you down. I promise it will never happen again.” That one statement would have chased a very large elephant from the room.

The biggest elephants are emotional elephants. It’s up to you to chase them away.

Time Management Tricks From the World’s Busiest People

By Chris Gaborit (www.fastcompany.com)

You have the same 1,440 minutes every day as the busiest people in the world. So, what do they do differently than you, what can you learn from them, and how can you improve your time management?

 

  1. MANAGE EVERY MINUTE OF YOUR TIME

 

Richard Branson, founder and chairman of the Virgin Group, is successful with his time because he manages every minute of his time every day, even his exercise. Here are just a few ways he’s said he manages his time:

 

I learned to delegate from a young age. Actually removing myself from the office has helped me look for the next big venture. I try to exercise every day–whether it is a swim, a game of tennis or a kite-surf when on Necker Island. Manage the BlackBerry, don’t let it manage you. The key is to do it in bursts and not to let it dominate your day. Speak to people–I do get a lot of emails every day and try to answer as many as I can; but I also believe that you need to speak to people. It can save you and them a lot of time. And write it down–I carry notebooks wherever I go to jot down thoughts and notes. You can’t beat pen and paper.

 

If we read into what Branson was saying here, it was essentially that you need to manage everything: your projects (delegation), your health (exercise), your communication (phone calls, emails, and speaking to people), and your memory (use notes).

 

  1. EVALUATE THE URGENT AND THE IMPORTANT

 

Dwight Eisenhower, former U.S. president, said, “Most things which are urgent are not important, and most things which are important are not urgent.”

 

Eisenhower was a man who was supremely organized at all times. Not only was he the 34th President of the United States from 1953 until 1961, but prior to that he was a five-star general in the U.S. Army during World War II. Among other amazing accomplishments he served as supreme commander of the Allied Forces in Europe, he oversaw the successful invasions of France and Germany from 1944 to 1945 from the Western Front, and in 1951, he became the first supreme commander of NATO.

 

Many people use the Eisenhower Method to manage their time successfully today. In this method, all tasks are evaluated using the criteria important/unimportant and urgent/not urgent and put in quadrants accordingly.

 

  1. SAY NO

 

Apple Founder and CEO Steve Jobs believed “Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things.”

 

Jobs was known for simplifying things. When he returned to Apple in 1997, he took their 300 products and reduced them to 10. This saved Apple from bankruptcy.

 

In his personal life, Jobs decided to wear the same outfit daily so he wouldn’t have to spend time thinking about his wardrobe.

 

By learning to delegate more, managing your emails, dealing with the urgent, and learning to say “no,” we can successfully manage our time and still have some time to exercise and enjoy life.

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