Email requests you should try to avoid (at all costs)!

In our technologically savvy world, emails seem to have taken over our channels of communication, especially at work… And, why not? Emails have allowed us to communicate with our bosses, colleagues and clients from anywhere and at any time, with the option for efficient replies and results. The good old email trail also keeps information documented and accessible. But due to our reliance on these technological devices, it seems some bad habits and unrealistic demands have begun.. And you might not even realise you are doing it.

Here are some key requests you should try to avoid when emailing… and why!

1. Requests for a change in your work routine

These days our work can often provide us with flexibility and choice within our working schedules. If you find you prefer to start a little later, come into the office earlier, work from home or at a different office, that’s usually fine! However, asking your boss for these changes in your work routine is necessary. Now comes the issue of asking for these desired changes….. Email? NO! Asking for something like a routine change at work is not something that should be communicated through email. Why? Well, your boss will most likely want an explanation as to why you want or need this routine change. He or she will also potentially want to hear the reasons behind how this change will benefit not just your work, but also the overall teams’ work and goals. A face-to-face conversation will also allow you to seem sincere and respectful and will allow for a more positive outcome between you and your boss.

2. Is it time for a raise?

Asking for a pay rise can be a tricky task, and not because you don’t necessarily deserve it. It is just a difficult conversation to bring up with your boss, usually because you are scared or nervous of the reply, or because you really, really want this raise and want everything to go perfectly. This type of request needs to be asked in person. The tone of voice, the mood, situation and your delivery of the request are all extremely important factors when asking such a large request. An important note to remember is that these factors cannot be portrayed or received through email (even if you found a bunch of email templates for “asking for a raise” on Google).

3. Please reply ASAP!!

One of the positive attributes of email is the efficient communication route and speedy results. However, due to these fast-past interactions we have become somewhat accustomed to automatic responses, whether it is on email, text message or a phone call. This technological age has caused us to expect radically quick responses, and sometimes these are unrealistic requests. When communicating through any channel, we have to remain realistic, logical and fair in terms of the response time. We have all experienced that frustration when we have not received a reply, that file you were after or that information you needed for a presentation from your co-worker. However, we usually don’t stop to consider whether that co-worker is in a meeting. Or at home due to illness. Or driving. There are many reasons that person hasn’t replied in 20 minutes. The major problem is that we are requesting (well, more like demanding) something from them over email with a tiny timeframe for a result. If you need something from a co-worker it is always best to allow 24-48 hours before you need the result, as it is not our co-worker’s job to be glued to their iPhone/computer waiting for an email from us.

Even though emails only require a click of a button to be sent, we need to think about what content and requests we are sending to people. Some times it is better to get up, walk down the hall and knock on that person’s office door.

 

Four types of employees you don’t want to be!

Without trying to be stereotypical, every workplace has at least one trying employee - and we all hope we aren’t one of them!

They are the type of employee and colleague that draws whispers and sighs when they walk into work. The type of employee that you avoid at all costs, even in the staff room. The type of employee you do not want to have work closely with.

So, with all that said, we want to make sure we are not THAT employee. Here is a description of the types of dreaded employees at a workplace, as a guide, to make sure we do not become one of them.

1. But that’s-not-my-job employee!

Everyone has encountered that one employee, the one who only wants to complete, perform and assist on tasks and jobs outlined in their contract. Oh, yes. There are some unions and work right communities that try to provide detailed accounts of what is expected of employees, however there are those employees who take these words… LITERALLY. The area on the contract or job description that can say “other duties if required” or “general office help/maintenance” actually means you can or do need to assist your working team, in some situations. Obviously, taking on other peoples’ work loads is not what we are asking, however to be a good team player and employee there are times when you just have to shut up, and help your colleagues.

2. The special employee!

No phones at work? They are on their phone from 9.00am till 5.00pm. Starting work at 9.00am? They stroll in at 9.15am, every day, some times 9.30am? Unapologetic, for sure. But, what’s worse than these employees? Their boss. Their boss allows and encourages their bad behaviour, and their lack of effort and work, because chances are their boss believes they are special too. Make sure you always follow the rules as others do, we are all equal at work.

3. No-boundaries employees!

Everyone has work-friends, sometimes you click with certain people and it develops into a personal friendship outside of the office. However, while at work there are certain people who think that over sharing with their colleagues at work is fine (I mean you spend five days a week together). Remembering to keep things professional at work is a must! Not everyone in the office needs to know the gory details of your date.

4. The drama king and queen employee!

The person who makes everything a HUGE deal at work. The employee who takes everything PERSONAL. The employee who is always reading WAY TOO much into everything. Yeah, there is always one drama king or queen at every office. And no one is that thrilled about them being there! Always remember to tone down the dramatics at work and the angry/emotional reactions to things. It’s not always the greatest way to earn points at work or how to be the most efficient, levelheaded worker. 

Smart and simple tips to help you work with someone that you really (really) dislike

In the workplace you find yourself having to work with many different people and occasionally that involves working with someone who you really (really) dislike. Co-workers can sometimes test your limits and patience at work; sometimes you feel like you would rather just work alone to avoid certain personalities.

However that is usually not a realistic scenario in many jobs and causes that dreaded “erghhh, work tomorrow” feeling on a Sunday, or in extreme cases, every day of the week.

Whether this particular co-worker works in your office, building or even the other side of the country, coming into contact with this person is unavoidable and that is enough to make you “hate your job”.

Finding a way to work through these ill feelings and creating a positive working relationship is a necessity. Why? Research shows that the relationships you have at work can affect your performance (not to mention your sanity). So, the better your relationships at work are, the more productive, successful and happier you will be.

How?! Here are four easy tips for overcoming that horrible feeling you experience when you have to come into contact with your least favourite co-worker.

1. Getting to know the person

It is easy to misinterpret gestures, comments and behaviour and misread or judge people we do not know. It’s a habit and sometimes it is unconsciously done, however it can be the explanation for negative work relationships. It has been stated that we as people have a tendency for liking people who are similar to ourselves. Getting to know this “horrible” co-worker could allow you to find some similar interests or qualities that you never took the time to find. It also can allow a chance for a little bit of understanding towards the person’s behaviour (which, potentially drives you crazy). Being able to understand a person more can decrease the chance of you taking certain things as ‘rude’ or as ‘personal attacks’, cause they sometimes aren’t, however the behaviour is just not what we are familiar with. Which leads us to step two….

2. Don’t take things personally

As much as a certain co-worker can be difficult (some are even impossible) it is very easy to take certain behaviours in the workplace as personal, even if they are not intended to be. Not taking actions or comments as personal attacks improves you overall happiness, satisfaction and ability to perform at work. However, taking things personally can lead to negative views of your job, yourself and the offender.

3. Set Boundaries

Unlikable people seem to always come along with undesirable behaviours. A way to avoid these is to be honest (and professional) with this co-worker. If your dreaded co-worker likes to try and pass their tasks onto you to be completed, being open and honest with them is key. To avoid these types of situation starting (or going any further) simple responses such as, “I’m sorry Robert* I can’t do that task for you as I am already working on Project A and B.” Simple and straight to the point.

4. Don’t Stress

When you are dealing with all of the pressures of your life: work, family, home and personal pressures, you don’t want or need to be adding any more stress into your life. Being able to identify what you can and can’t control is a very powerful trick to overcome the stresses attached to working with a particularly challenging co-worker. You can’t control what another person says or does, however you can control how it affects you and your reaction. Determining what you should allow to bother you and what you can control or shape (and what you can’t) will allow you to overcome the negative feelings, stress and dislike for certain colleagues at work. Prioritise what is worth thinking twice about and what you should allow to continue without your worry. This behaviour and thinking will allow better enjoyment in your job and a positive attitude towards your work and yourself. Work can be hard with all of the different personalities and people associated with it. Not everyone you meet will be easy to deal with or treat you how you would like to be treated. However, focusing on yourself and how you deal with these people and their behaviour, rather than focusing on the person and how to ‘change’ or ‘fix’ their behaviour allows you to improve these working relationships and still enjoy your job. Which, in turn provides yourself with a greater opportunity of success and satisfaction within your work.