There is a kitchen area in work, just to the side of the large open plan office. On the counter top, you always find sundries, a large box of free fruit which is delivered daily, tea , coffee, sugar etc., charity collection boxes and occasionally, people leave free things. Magazines they’ve read, maybe a book or some such thing.
Last week, someone left a free nasal spray. It had a yellow sticker beside it saying ‘free – help yourself’. Not a new unused spray in a box, but a half used nasal spray. The questionable hygiene habits of some of my colleagues has always perplexed me, but a pre-loved nasal spray?? Who could have imagined such generosity existed in our midst.
Since then, the good people I work with have embraced this notion of sharing half used items. Yesterday morning, a half chewed packet of Halls menthol lozenges appeared, with the obligatory ‘free – help yourself – use sensibly’. In the afternoon, a half packet of tissues (actually cut in half).
What started out as a kind gesture, however questionable by the mystery nasal spray doner, has turned into an epic free for all of sharing half consumed items. I’ve decided to join in the frenzy of caring and sharing. My dilemma, I can’t decide whether to leave half a Q-tip or some left over corn plasters.
Office etiquette, the do’s and dont’s may be tricky to navigate. Riddled with pitfalls, office etiquette can see a perfectly nice day descend into nightmare.
I think it’s time to reveal Nifty’s guide to surviving the office.
When the CEO deigns to visit your office, hang on his every word nodding in agreement. Bask in the glow of his greatness, in manner of North Korean peasant in the presence of Kim Jong Un. Long may his wisdom continue to shine a light on your life. Flattery will get you everywhere including that next promotion.
Never chew gum. Ghastly habit. May lead to blowing bubbles and therefore the complete disintegration of civilised society.
Practice extreme health and safety. Insist on wearing protective goggles when using a stapler, a punch or indeed any office accoutrements.
Personal hygiene is of the utmost importance. If a colleague has his/her own personal pungent fragrance, he/she must be told in no uncertain terms to wash.
You may need to send an anonymous Deodorgram. Have a message included with the gift, the most popular one is (according to the manufacturers)“You’ve always been such a cute little stinker, now you can just be cute and little! Please enjoy this hard working natural deodorant sent to you from a caring friend”.
Do not put used coffee beans down the kitchen sink. This caused enormous problems in our office building, leading to what we now commonly refer to as ‘the great smell of 2014’.
Avoid sleezy comments. “Come into my office Miss Jones, I need you to take something down”. The use of the double entendre is perfectly acceptable at smart dinner parties, but knowing when to use shows nuance and versatility.
Ensure your desk is a disorganised mess. Colleagues will fear cross contamination and leave you in peace.
Always dress impeccably, casual Friday is all very well for the great unwashed, but to a domestic Goddess it means donning your Hermes scarf and Jimmy Choos. Remember, you are of a higher station, an inspiration to all and standards must be maintained.
Ensure the intern understands the pecking order.