How To … Be a Model Co-Worker
After spending almost six years working in offices, I like to think of myself as a model co-worker. I have spent endless hours trying to make my work environment happy and comforting – a home away from home, if you will – that motivates and inspires my colleagues. In short, I care. Here are some thoughtful tips to help you make your co-workers’ days a little brighter.
◊ Their Workspace
In the office, a workspace can feel like home to some people. It’s their own special place, where they spend up to eight hours a day, five days a week. They have everything just right. They have a place for each item. Chairs and keyboards are positioned just right. Basically your colleagues are in a rut. Their lives have become dull and it’s up to you to rejuvenate them! Switch their personal items about, turn their desk to face the opposite way, adjust the height and seat angle on their chairs. They’ll be thrilled by the whimsy! If you like a more subtle approach, move items usually stationary items like notebooks and keyboards over a half inch – the change won’t be visible noticeable but your colleague will feel slightly uneasy all day.
◊ Steal Their Stuff
People love a good giggle. Steal their belongings. Send them anonymous ransom notes and accompanying pictures of their missing items in compromising positions throughout the day. You can also steal their belongings and then use them yourself. When they confront you, claim they belong to you. ‘This framed photo? You think it’s yours? Dude that’s totally my wife. Are you saying she’s not because I’m a woman!? Oh my God, you’re so homophobic! A big sexist homophobic love-hater! *cries*’ or ‘You’re saying this mug belong to you, just because it says ‘Gavin’ on it. ‘Gavin’ is my nickname. How can ‘Gavin’ be a nickname for someone called ‘Samantha’, you ask? Well, it all started back in 1871. It was a wet year and the crops were starting to fail…’
◊ Send Them Emails
What better way to brighten up your co-worker’s day than by bombarding them with a constant stream of fun emails! People love getting those ‘Send this on to 75,008 people or you’ll die painfully’ messages. The ones asking you donate to some random sick person in another country, those funny and slightly racist memes and videos of animals doing things are also good. Especially if you’re sending them a few years after everyone else.
◊ Lock Their Computers
Everyone likes to be challenged in their job – it keeps things interesting and motivates them. Arrive in early and set a password lock on random colleagues’ computers. Watch as they spend a significant amount of time trying to get into their machines, while also attempting to figure out how it happened and how they can get their work done. It’s like real life Sudoku – it will improve their brain function and analytical skills. Plus a lot of people work better under severe stress and confusion. You’ll make them a better person. They’ll thank you… some day.
◊ Be Personal
Show you care. Hunt them down online and befriend/follow/monitor them on every site they’re a member of. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Tumblr – the cyber world is your cyber oyster! Collect information on them and then spring it on them during the work day. Your colleague is doing a presentation – raise your hand and tell him you noticed he’s not In A Relationship anymore on Facebook and ask if he needs a hug. You’re chatting with your boss and colleagues in the lunchroom – tell your colleague you saw her saying she had The Fear on Twitter at the weekend and ask if she needs you to stage an intervention for her drug dependency. It will show them that you’re taking an interest in them and think of them as a people, not just corporate cogs.
◊ The Kitchen
Studies show that people who live in chaotic surroundings are more creative. The kitchen is the easiest place to cause chaos in the workplace. Dirty every single piece of crockery and cutlery. Leave them strewn around the kitchen. If the kitchen is cleaned communally, leave used tea bags in the sink and on the counter. Smear butter and sauces on random surfaces. Also leave things like lemon slices and bits of food in the sink, so it clogs the drains and people will need to fish it out with their bare hands. Then sit back and watch your colleagues CREATE!
◊ Steal Food
Studies have also found that office workers are terrible creatures for snacking during the day and that, coupled with a sedentary occupation, is a recipe for obesity. Help them by taking their food. Sure, their beautiful sandwich/pasta dish/desserts look lovely and it may seem wrong to take it, but this isn’t a self-serving action! You’re doing it for them. You’re taking one for the team.
◊ Cheer Them Up
Laughter is good for the soul. You should do everything you can to make them laugh, especially at times of stress, such as when they’re on an important call. Do amusing things like activating Sticky Keys on their keyboard or wiping your spit on the keys. Licking their face is also a good idea. Gets a laugh every time.
Readers who have been positively affected by Catherine’s How To are reminded to send gift baskets and handsome escorts. Readers who have been adversely affected are reminded that this How To is for entertainment purposes only and any professional reassignment after reading is purely coincidental.