Overcoming the Challenges of Common Office Problems
October 30, 2018 by Lee Mulkowsky
If you work in an office or from home, it’s inevitable you’ll have problems. Some problems are big and some are little, but doing your best to solve as many of them as possible will help contribute to a more productive work environment.
Problems Working from Home
Even a one-person operation has problems. Many people who run a business by themselves do so from home. But your home is full of distractions. And these aren’t just family members clamoring for your attention. What else distracts you?
The cat meows to go out. When you let it out, you see that you forgot to put the trash cans by the curb. After you take care of this, you realize you’re hungry, and you cook yourself a little snack. You don’t want to leave dirty dishes around, so you clean them up. Then you remember you have a meeting tomorrow and you need your white shirt, so you throw in a load of laundry. As you head back to your desk, the cat meows to come back in. When you open the door, you see a package has arrived for you. You open it up and see it’s the new printer you ordered, and you start to set it up. It It isn’t connecting, so you call tech support for help. Once you get it working, you realize it’s time to put the laundry in the dryer. Then the cat wants to go out again and you’re hungry again.
People Problems in the Office
As anyone who has worked in an office environment can attest, one of the biggest problems is often with co-workers.
Top complaints include workers who:
- Talk too loudly to co-workers or on the phone
- Use speakerphone for client or personal calls
- Microwave smelly food
- Burn popcorn every day
- Eat loud, crunchy food at their desk
- Eat gassy food
- Wear too much cologne
- Claim scent-sitivity and ask everyone to start using natural shampoo and deodorant
- Stop by your desk every day to yak endlessly about the movie they saw or something else you don’t care about
- Use up the paper in the copier and not put new paper in
- Leave dirty dishes in the sink
And these are just problems with office mates — you may not even directly work with these people. When you move into the realm of co-workers, you have two sources of problems: personalities and work styles.
You’re Not Invited
Individual personalities should not affect how your workplace operates, but they often do. One pervasive problem is office cliques, a la Mean Girls. Maybe everyone is going out for happy hour, but one or two workers weren’t told. Maybe everyone gets together over the weekend and leaves someone out.
Few offices can go too long without someone who works there getting married and having to decide who’s invited to the wedding and who’s not.
Even if the players in these types of dramas try to be discreet, the pictures on Facebook will tell the story, and everyone will know.
An Inhospitable Working Environment
The most serious of all workplace problems is arguably harassment. Sexual harassment, in particular, gets a lot of ink, as it should, but any type of workplace harassment is serious.
In a Washington Post Magazine work advice column, a writer complained about a hostile working environment due to his peanut allergy. The writer said he asked another worker to please not eat peanut butter in the office because he was highly allergic. Another day, the writer was having allergy symptoms and found that someone had smeared peanut butter under his desk.
Actions such as this definitely call for involving HR, or in the absence of an HR department, the company’s owner. In some circumstances, police should also be called.
Regarding sexual harassment, most companies have policies spelled out now so that workers understand what is and is not acceptable behavior. If anyone crosses the line, workers should not hesitate to report the offense. Giving the benefit of the doubt and assuming intentions are innocent could lead to an escalation of the unwanted behavior.
Annoying Habits in the Office
Other vexing but less-serious issues involve varying types of boorish and obnoxious behavior. These include but are not limited to:
- Monopolizing a meeting
- Talking over others
- Interrupting others
- Talking down to others
- Trash talking others behind their back
- Trash talking others to their face
- Deriding others’ ideas
- Sabotaging others’ work
- Claiming the ideas and work of others as their own
- Not pulling their load on a team
- Showing up late, leaving early, taking lots of sick days
- Exhibiting an entitled attitude
Problems with bosses can be similar, but they are often worse since bosses have some level of control over you.
How the Boss Can Cause Problems
Your boss may micromanage you, dump all the work on you, try to make you work late and on weekends and holidays, act in a condescending manner toward you, violate boundaries, sexually harass you, ask you to do personal errands, tell you inappropriate details of their lives or worse.
It’s bad enough when a co-worker stops by your cube and wastes your time by talking about boring topics, but when your boss does it, you sometimes have no choice but to listen. Worse, the boss will expect you to still get your work done on time.
Temporary and Shared Office Space Solves Problems
You can see it’s hard to get anything done at home. That’s why small operations often rent temporary or shared office space. The cost for shared office space is low, and the environment is much more conducive to getting work done than home.
Similarly, most larger operations with many employees lease their own office space. This comes with its own potential pitfalls and problems.
When you rent temporary or shared office space, you can basically dictate what you want. You can choose the size of your space; whether you want furniture and if you do, what kind; the type of equipment and supplies you might need, such as computers and color printers; and endless other options.
Rely on Metro Offices
You can rest assured you will solve some of your office problems by renting space from Metro Offices. We provide you with everything you need: adequate space, furniture, supplies, support staff and more. Compare what it costs to run your own office vs. simply letting Metro Offices do the work for you.