Work Life

Can I ask people to put their phones away at meetings?

Q: I am responsible for running a weekly workflow meeting in our office. During the meeting, the attendees are constantly needing to have information repeated that they missed because they were too busy checking email on their smartphones. This results in errors on projects and makes the meetings run longer than necessary. How can I approach my boss to request a moratorium on smartphone use during meetings – he’s the worst offender!

I'm out of the lunch clique

Q: I work in a small office, where all of the “old-timers” go to lunch every day. I feel left out. Isn’t this rude office behavior? Any advice for me?

A: Join them. I’ve found this maxim to be true – the more I focus on the difficult behavior of others, the more I tend to feel helpless, small-minded and irritable. The more I focus on making a positive difference, the more I feel large-minded, empowered and happy – even if my attempted contribution is a dud.

I’m swamped by too much email

Q: I have hundreds of emails to wade through every day – which is not helped by one person in the office who has a “reply all” mania. I sometimes miss actual important items that pertain to my job because I tend to glaze over when I come to his emails. What is my best approach to handle this?

A: Email has a way of taking on a life of its own, swamping us with unnecessary information, drowning us in minutiae, appealing to instant gratification and reducing productivity.

My two employees don’t like each other what do I do?

Q: I have two employees who really dislike each other. I know I can’t make everybody be friends, but their snippy comments and complaints about each other are detrimental to the office environment. Do you have any tips for me?

A: You have two problems here. One is bite-sized. The other is super-sized.

Your bite-sized problem is two employees who at face value might be unfit for a professional workplace. They’ve let unresolved conflicts fester and escalate and are behaving like junior high rivals.

Trouble with naptime at the office, and not just with my co-worker's kids

Q: I have a co-worker who falls asleep at her desk every afternoon. I’d like a little paid nap too, but I feel like a tattletale bringing this up to our supervisor. It does, however, feel unjust to me. Should I just wake her up every day, ignore it or do something else?

A: “A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the arms to rest – Then poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like a brigand.” (Proverbs 24:33)


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