Working in a large office can be a great thing. Although you may work individually, you are always still part of a larger team and the support and camaraderie that this provides can see you through the most difficult of days. Having colleagues to share the workload, talk through creative ideas and generally be there for you, can be the perfect environment for some employees.
However, we all have bad days and sometimes, the office environment can really test our patience, with the smallest of things tipping us over the edge resulting in an almighty blow-out. Here are some of the most annoying things noted from multiple surveys with my own personal thoughts added:
Jargon / buzzwords – here are some of my particular non-favourites: moving forward, project map, brainstorm, win-win, low hanging fruit, reaching out, talking offline, touchpoint, touching base, thought leader, out the box, blue sky thinking… to name but a few.
Colleagues who expect everyone else to clear up after them – most large offices will have a kitchen area available to employees. Some people will make a drink, replace the milk in the fridge and wash their cup when they have finished with it. However, there are always those other people who will leave the milk out, launch their teaspoon into the sink, spill half the contents of their cup and leave it on the worktop and wouldn’t even dream of washing up their mug. Even worse when the kitchen can be used for preparing lunch: I don’t know which is worse; the overpowering smell of some employee lunch concoctions or the employee who thinks that the fairies will come along and clear up their plate and cutlery.
Endless birthday collections – I once worked in an office where it seemed that there was at least one birthday every day. Not only can this get a little tedious as the cake is brought out and the singing commences, but it can end up costing a fortune. Being continually asked for donations for staff members that you don’t really know can also be a bone of contention. And don’t even get me started on the feeling of dread when it’s your own birthday. I once thought that I was being clever by arranging to work in another office on my birthday a few years ago. As the people in the other office didn’t know me that well, I didn’t think that anyone would know it was my birthday. To my dismay, I had the cake and singing ritual in the middle of a meeting and the same again when I returned to my own office the next day.
Appraisals – I used to think that appraisals were an important part of development; a way to improve both personally and professionally and to assist you on your way up the career ladder. In latter years, I learnt that this was purely dependent on the quality of your line manager. Unfortunately in some companies, it really is a case of ‘not what you know but who you know’ that determines your future.
Meetings about meetings – what’s all that about? I once had to attend a meeting, about a meeting I was attending later the same day. And after the actual meeting had taken place, I was asked to attend a meeting to discuss how the meeting had gone.
And that’s just one of the reasons why I love being a Virtual Assistant. I have to make my own coffee but that suits me just fine!