A Business Technology Place

Amazing things you should be doing at work

I always liked the quote “choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life”. I consider myself fortunate to have identified early the general area of practice that I wanted to make a career. Doing my job motivates me to learn and become better at my craft. But it also gives opportunities to sow seeds of happiness and enjoyment for myself and others. Over the years I’ve developed a few habits that I think help make ‘work’ more than a place. For me, these habits help add the emphasis to the quote ‘you will never have to *work* a day in your life’. Everyone needs a list of amazing things that they intentionally do to make ‘work’ a job to love.  

Here’s my list:

1.Laugh with your coworkers.

I told a coworker recently that if you aren’t laughing at work then it may not be worth the drive. To me, laughing is the spice that flavors the day. I try not to miss moments and events throughout the day that provide both smiles and laughter.

2.Keep a quote board.

I keep a log of witty, profound, funny, and obscure sayings that I hear from coworkers. Often, these are the sayings that spark the laughter and smiles that keep us connected to others. Then during special events or conversations, I reference the quotes. I find that these quotes often pinpoint specific elements of the company’s work culture or the personality of a coworker. They are a tool to strengthen relationships, motivate people, and find enjoyment. For me they also provide the basis for many of my blog posts.

3.Take pictures of events, people, or business artifacts.

I learned this one from a former co-worker who would take pictures of historical moments and physical artifacts related to the business or a project. Each photo tells a story about people and events. Unlike many things in life, the love of storytelling is something we never lose. Stories unite us, teach us, and provide insight into future decision making.

4.Reach out and touch someone.

I still use the phone on my desk. For me it’s a reminder that a simple phone call can often get me to the answer quicker than an email string of back-and-forth questions. No, it doesn’t create the CYA audit trail that comforts us. But it is more appropriate for some communications. It allows you to hear and feel the mood of the other person. It contributes to trust and friendship beyond what email can offer.

5.Help others be successful.

Common advice for being a good employee is to do things that make your boss successful. But I think the core of this advice goes much deeper. We should make it a goal to help all our coworkers be successful with their jobs regardless of their title or position on the organization chart. This is the concept of mutual submission and the assumption is that everyone in the company contributes to the success of the company. The best way to get there is to help others be successful in their work.

A case for voice mail

Do you use your office phone and voice mail?

Dan Kedmey of Time Magazine recently listed 4 reasons we should never leave another voicemail.  I agree in part with Kedmey that the role of voice mail and the office phone is decreasing. I see it at work too, as some co-workers opt to have no desk phone, or simply forward their desk phone to their cell phone.  As studies show, more of us prefer to send an electronic message rather than leaving a voice mail. Think about how many times recently you’ve called someone and when they don’t answer you hang-up rather than leave a voice mail.

But wait…..

We shouldn’t be so quick to abandon the office phone and voice mail.

Here’s why:

  1. Bad habits on email and instant messaging don’t justify getting rid of your office phone. I’m talking about the times when people want to have a full blown conversation through email (multiple messages back-and-forth). I’m talking about when an instant message goes on for minutes when the conversation could be resolved in seconds by just picking up the phone and calling. Unfortunately this type of behavior is becoming more common in the office. Electronic messaging is not always the most efficient.
  2. There are legitimate times to use electronic messaging to create a written record of correspondence. But conflict resolution and getting to answers quicker in problem solving are better for face-to-face or phone conversations.
  3. I use my office phone as a screener much like I use a second email for online sign-ups. I give my cell phone number to people I know and trust. Incoming calls on the office phone are mostly solicitations and screened as such by rolling them to voice mail.
  4. Voice mail is way to insert tone and meaning into your messages for others. Electronic messaging is often misunderstood and misinterpreted because the receiver doesn’t hear the tone of the speaker’s voice. If it’s really important, try a voice mail.
  5. Voice mail is still used on cell phones and there are tools to transcribe that voice mail into an electronic message. This is a convenience for the receiver to filter out solicitations.
  6. Voice mail is more personal. It’s like receiving a hand written note.

So…

If you want to stand-out and send a much more personal message then leave a voice mail.

Reach out and touch someone is still effective today. Maybe the office phone and voice mails are no longer the primary communication tool for us. But they do have a place.

To me, a voice mail from a colleague shows a personal touch to message delivery. They are leaving their voice for me to hear. No, it’s not the best choice of messaging medium for all situations. It doesn’t scale well. The recipient can’t scan it. So I choose to keep voice mail for specific uses. Sometimes, you just need to be heard.  🙂