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Whether you’ve worked in the same social work team for the majority of your career, or you’re a locum social worker specialising in short term contracts, you’ll be aware that whatever the role, where ever the location, each office has the same unwritten rule book!

So what can we expect to find in social work teams up and down the country? We take a light-hearted look at some common office politics.

1. Be considerate

The number one rule in any office goes without saying – simply be considerate to your peers and colleagues. This may be something as minor as holding a door open, or answering someone’s phone if they’ve stepped away from their desk for a minute. Or it could be something a bit more serious like being aware of how your mood can affect those around you.

We would always suggest treating people the way you wish to be treated – by being sensitive to others and thinking about how they may be feeling, you can help to create a much more enjoyable working environment.

One top tip that should always be mentioned – if you have a communal office kitchen and microwave, never take last night’s fish pie leftovers for your lunch. The lingering smell will never let you be seen as a considerate co-worker!

2. Refrain from scheduling unnecessary meetings

There is never enough time in the day to complete all the tasks you need to do, so before you schedule a team meeting, think about whether it’s really necessary. Sometimes a phone call or email could work better. If you are setting up a meeting between lots of people, try to be selective about who needs to be there – not everyone has time in the day to attend a lengthy meeting.

You could try to be more efficient and make better use of technology – if attendees are coming from different offices etc, why not try a conference call via Skype or Google Hangout? It may not make a difference to the length of the meeting itself, but could cut down on travel time, making the meeting more effective for all attendees.

3. Don’t have an irritating ringtone

We know that your phone will be permanently attached to your hand – if you are expecting to take lots of calls during the day, please try and reduce the volume of your ringtone so that it doesn’t disturb your co-workers.

4. Dress professionally

It may sound silly, but another common unwritten rule of the office is to always dress professionally. The last thing you want is to be talked about in the office for what you wear – you want your work to speak for you. Think about what situations you have planned for the diary and dress accordingly.

5. Not making a good cuppa

Most important of all – if you’re making yourself a cup of tea or a coffee, make sure you ask your nearby co-workers if they fancy a brew as well! Offering to make a stressed co-worker a hot drink can show support and kindness and make you the ideal colleague!

What other common ‘rules’ have you come across? We’d love to know your suggestions, let us know using the comments box below!
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