Whatever the industry or profession, if you manage an office, there are some daily occurrences you’re bound to know about. Whether the milk’s been left out of the fridge so it curdles or there’s a regular fork shortage at lunch time, every office manager has heard the same gear-grinding gripes from co-workers.
Here are 10 common office problems (and solutions)…
Arguments over the air conditioning
Evident in every office, two tribes going into battle about what temperature the air conditioning should be set at – meaning it’s switched on and off around 10 times a day.
Solution: Stop the argument before it begins by taking charge of the air-con. Set it at a comfortable working temperature and ban everyone from touching or messing with it.
Making rounds of hot beverages
As soon as anyone rises from their seat, everyone within a six-desk radius will stare at them with the “if you’re making a drink, will you make me one?” puppy dog eyes.
Solution: Reduce tea rounds to the desks people sit at or the area they sit in – it should stop one person making 20 brews at a time. You could even bring in a tea rota so it’s not the same person constantly making the drinks.
Using someone’s personal mug
Despite it being emblazoned with an employee’s name and maybe even a picture of their face, one co-workers will still take someone else’s cup out of the cupboard and use it day in, day out until they leave.
Solution: While this is a more challenging one to fix, purchasing some plain mugs and encouraging those who don’t have a cup to use one of these should help stop the grumblings.
Having to bring in treats on your birthday
One that always brings confusion – why should you have to treat everyone else on your birthday? Some office workers go all out, bringing in cakes and sweets for everyone to enjoy, while others just bring in a few little treats for their closest working companions.
Solution: It may seem odd, and there’s no real reason for it, but if people are happy to do then let them.
Never being able to find a pen and paper
From being up and down to the printer to in and out of meetings, pens, notebooks and any other writing equipment is bound to go missing. The same happens when you’re trying to print something out for a deadline and there’s no paper.
Solution: As office manager, it’s important to make sure there’s a steady supply of key writing equipment and paper available – which is where an inventory list may help. It’s also worth reminding employees to try and keep hold of their stationery and to check the supply room before they panic about a paper shortage.
Having your stationery stolen
Whether it’s post-it notes, a staples or a ruler, people will tend to take, and forget to give back, another employees stationery equipment – leading to complaints, moaning and in some instances, arguments.
Solution: Make sure everyone has the tools they need to reduce people borrowing from others. If people are still lending things from one and another, kindly remind them to give it back once they’re done.
Laughing at someone’s unfunny joke
The “someone” in question tends to be a figure from higher up the company hierarchy and the joke tends to be the least funny remark you’ve ever heard.
Solution: While it may pain you inside, if the joke is in good fun and is in no way intended to upset anyone, it may be worth just laughing.
Finding the right chair
Sitting down all day might sound like a walk in the park, but when people don’t have the right chair, mouse or even keyboard, it can lead to bigger problems.
Solution: Ensuring employees are comfortable is crucial – you don’t want to risk anyone being injured because of their office chair. Check everything is ergonomically sound for everyone while they work – this includes ergonomic chairs, wrist rests and having a screen at the right height.
Loud shoes walking down the office
There’s nothing worse than having your concentration broken – especially when it down to someone walking noisily down the office.
Solution: While it may be irritating, there’s not really anything you can do for this one.
The Noisy, Smelly Eater
You’ll probably hear complaints about others cooking and eating smelly food at their desks. Not to mention, the moans and groans about the lingering stench it can leave for hours or days once it’s been consumed.
Solution: It may be worth bringing in some office etiquette rules for everyone to follow – this could include throwing out old food and not cooking anything that has an unpleasant odour.
It may seem like the above gripes are the most annoying part of office life, but look around your workspace and you are bound to be able to check all these off the list and provide yourself with some light humour!