Since working as an administrator for over a year now, I’ve come to learn all about the many quirks and experiences of working in an office environment. From fights over air-conditioning to ‘replying all’ with an embarrassing email, these are some of the things I’ve come across.
1. Nobody will ever agree on a satisfactory temperature.
In our office, half the people seem to complain about it being ‘like a sauna’ whereas the other half are all complaining that their hands are numb because it’s that cold. Some people will happily whack the heating on full blast and others demand the air conditioning to be turned on despite it being the middle of Winter. I’ve decided that it’s ultimately impossible to achieve a temperature in an office that everyone will be happy with. I’d recommend you owning a desk fan and a heater/hot water bottle to make things a little bit more comfortable either way.
2. It’s tradition to bring in treats when it’s your birthday.
I don’t know if it has always been the same for anyone else but this is something that dates all the way back to school; people used to bring in a bag of sweets if it was their birthday and pass them around the classroom for all of the other kids to eat. This tradition seems to have carried over to most office environments as well. The general rule is that if you eat other peoples’ treats that they provide on their birthdays, it’s good manners to bring some in on your birthday too. The office I work in is quite big so this is pretty much a weekly occurrence which becomes a bit of a struggle if you’re trying to eat healthily.
3. If someone just writes ‘regards’, you’re probably in the shit.
I’ve seen this point a few times in similar posts and it’s so funny but so true. ‘Kind regards’ is polite and nice, you have nothing to worry about here. It’s basically short for ‘I have no problem with you, we’re all good, I hope your day is going well.’ Take out the ‘kind’ and you might as well be the devil. Do not cross them. They probably have a voodoo doll of you on their desk that they stick drawing pins in. But seriously, if anyone ever ends an email in just ‘regards’, I can’t help but automatically assume they’re in a mood with me. It just sounds so much colder and I’ve definitely taken the ‘kind’ out myself on occasion if someone has particularly irritated me.
4. Never ‘reply all’ to a large email.
Keeping with the subject of emails, that pesky little ‘reply all’ button is just the worst. If a generic email gets sent out and you reply to everyone rather than just the relevant person, you’ll annoy everyone in the office. I embarrassed myself a while ago as we had professional photographs taken for the company’s official website; they sent along all of our shots and asked us to pick our favourite of the bunch. Thinking I was only replying to my boss, I jokingly exclaimed that I was choosing a specific one because I only looked ‘half decent, if that’ in it. Not long after I sent the email, I heard a few members of staff start chuckling and wondered what was going on. The person next to me said ‘you don’t look that bad’ and that’s when it clicked. I’d pressed that damn ‘reply all’ button and sent my self-hating email to the whole company. Marvellous.
5. ‘Officewear’ is a very broad term.
When shopping for things to wear to work, the term ‘officewear’ is pretty questionable in some stores. Almost every clothing website has an ‘officewear’ or ‘workwear’ section; I don’t know if anyone else has noticed this but when scrolling through the category, I’ve seen things like crop tops, mini skirts and platform boots. If I wore some of the things that websites deem to be ‘workwear’ I’d definitely be told off at work and get a lot of strange glares. Please tell me I’m not the only one who’s noticed this.
6. ‘Casual Friday’ isn’t what you think it is.
This one might just be me or the rules in my office but the way I imagined casual Friday to be is not what I thought it was. I thought you could wear basically anything whether it be a tracksuit, sandals in the summer or your favourite pair of trainers. Unfortunately I’ve learnt that it seems to be more of a jeans, a nice top and sensible shoes sort of deal, still staying relatively smart and having to follow specific restrictions on how ‘dressed down’ you can really be.
7. The numb bum is real.
Anyone who works at a desk will understand that numb bum is a thing. When you’re sat down for hours at a time, it can start to get pretty uncomfortable and your bum will start to lose the circulation. I’ve often got up to go and make a cup of tea just to relieve the dead feeling and I know I’m not alone in this. It’s so important to take a break every now and then, even if it’s just a quick bathroom break or a short walk around the office to stretch your legs. Keep the numb bum at bay!
8. People don’t grow up, drama will be a thing your whole life.
When I was at school, I felt completely surrounded by bitchiness and drama. I remember that I always used to remind myself that when I left school, this would all go away. Then I got to university and it was exactly the same, there were still some people that loved to kick up a fuss. And now, even in the adult working world, this is something that stays put. Throughout life, there’s always going to be people that want to make your life a misery or stir the tea. Something that I always tell myself is to keep my head up and not sink down to that level – quite frankly, I don’t have the time nor the energy for it!
9. Small talk quickly becomes an everyday thing.
“You alright?” “Yeah, you?” “Yeah, good thanks” is a conversation I have multiple times a day with no real meaning, it’s more of an acknowledgment so that you’re not completely ignoring one another. Even though I’ve always hated small talk and found it pointless, I seem to have bossed it since I started office work. The weather, a recent news headline, politics or something that’s been on TV recently are all popular topics in the office world.
10. How many times can you say ‘bless you’ before it gets weird?
Even though I’m not in any way religious, I’ve always said ‘bless you’ if someone sneezes as it just feels polite. This is all well and good until one of your colleagues starts having a sneezing fit. The first couple of times are perfectly fine but when it’s followed by another six, you just end up giving up as it’s getting a bit ridiculous. Then comes the paranoia from everyone that the whole office is slowly going to start getting ill.
Do you have any other typical office quirks to share?