Post # 1
NOTE ON THE POLL: The question is ultimately which of these things do you do while you’re “supposed” to be working – I’m not talking about on your lunch break, at work after your shift is over, etc. 🙂
I’ve been temping the last couple of months, and it’s really interesting to me to observe the different attitudes in the various offices I’ve been in – a much more broad “sample” to observe than I think I’d ever have access to otherwise.
Some places seem really laid back, with people on their cell phone or running out to starbucks while on the clock and no one blinks an eye; other places are a lot more strict feeling, like you’d get in trouble for toe-ing the line.
I’m curious, how do you act at work, how do your co-workers, and what do you think is okay (or not)? What have you done, and what have you seen others do that really blew your mind?
*I recognize that this differs by work environment, and that my experience is almost exclusively related to office work, so I’d love to hear a variety of perspectives! No judgment here 🙂
Post # 3
I’m not in an office, but I do some of those things. : ) I work in retail, so I do talk with my fellow associates (when it’s slow — I don’t ignore customers!), and I’m behind a counter so I sometimes do homework/read/surf the ‘Net/work on personal projects, again when it’s slow. I’ve made a couple really quick personal calls before, but always under 2 minutes, and always when there was no customers needing to be helped, and I NEVER pull out my cellphone while working.
Post # 4
I work at a security office that’s DoD cleared – we’re not even allowed to have cell phones with cameras in the building, much less access the internet. It’s super strict, but people’s lives literally depend on us. You can’t just wander away from your desk at my work.
Post # 5
I’m working on my PhD now, so my office is just a place for me to keep my stuff and work when I’m not in class–so there aren’t any rules at all and I do all those things. However, before I started my PhD and after college, I worked an office-type job for several years and I did all those things there too. I worked in higher education administration and all three institutions that I worked for were pretty laid back. If I didn’t have anything I needed to be doing, no one really cared what else I did. So I would peruse recipes for dinner that night, check my personal email, chat with my husband via gchat, chat with other coworkers from across the office. The chat application was actually installed by the university so that we could talk to each other without having to get up. Of course we did get up…I’ve always had the fortune of really liking my coworkers, so we would wander to each other’s offices, bounce ideas off each other, talk about our lives, and just enjoy each other’s company. We all really like going to work every day, which I think is great! I’ve always believed that looser environments like that lead to more productive, happier employees. Feeling like your every move is restricted can’t be good for morale, which can’t in turn be good for productivity.
ETA: I have also always had bosses that would rein us in if we got too far off task. They’d let us know if they felt we needed to be a bit more focused.
Post # 6
Honestly, I am way to busy at work to do most of these things. But obvioulsy the girl taht sits in front of me is not. She is almost always on her cell phone! She is talking to her daughter or husband all the time. someone will be talking with her about work related stuff and her phone will go off and she will just answer it! and it is personal! she even does it in front of her boss! we are all salary so it is pretty laid back as long as you get your work done. BUT some of us just have more work to do i guess 🙂
I am not a stickler though. If i want to meet a girlfriend for lunch (and i have time) i will take a 1.5 hour long lunch. If i want coffee I will go get coffee, ect. But honestly I am so busy at work i dont have time to check my cell phone or get coffee very much. I also turn my cell on silent. I get so tired of hiring different cell phone rings going off all day! please turn your phone on silent or vibrate while at work..unless it is a work phone.
Man…I sound like a biddy… hehe
Post # 7
I work in a branch office and we’re very laid back. If there’s work to be done, we are totally on top of it (we’re actually a very successful branch), but if things are quieter it’s pretty chill.
Post # 8
I have a casual work environment–and my company isn’t small, either. I wear jeans and sandals sometimes. Of your list, I sometimes take/make personal calls on my cell (but i keep it short–sometimes it’s just my mom calling to say hi and I cut her off or it’s my doctor calling), i make personal calls (like to the car dealership to make a service appt) on my office phone, I check my email and social network (usually on my iphone though), and take long bathroom breaks (i have a GI problem that I can’t avoid, so it is what it is). That being said, I am a salaried employee with flex time (if i have a Dr appt at 10am, i just stay later, not a big deal) and it’s only when I honestly don’t have anything to do or just when i need a quick mental break from the technical thing I’m working on. The people around me play solitaire, talk to their wives, etc. Everybody does it, but as long as you get your work done, it’s accepted. In the environment I work in, it’s understood that some days will be really, really slow. You can’t just go find work. I can’t do somebody else’s work (ie i am a materials engineer and i can’t just ‘help out’ a strength engineer…). Getting coffee ‘on the clock’ would be okay, too, but we don’t have ‘clocks’ if that makes sense
If i need a break, I also walk out the door and walk arond the building for some fresh air. Totally acceptable. I also eat ALL the time at work, haha. I sit at a desk, *shrug*
@daydreamwanderer, you actually know where I work 😉
Post # 9
I checked 9 out of the 12 specific options. I work for the corporate office of a popular retail chain and we are somewhat laid back even though you wouldnt think we would be. Not every department can get away with the things that my department can though. I make and receive personal phone calls on both my work and cell phone. I will sit at my desk and talk on my cell phone but I dont really like to so I normally call whoever it is back on my work phone. I definitely surf the internet (my internet history must make the guys in PC Tech nauseous with all the wedding crap), check my personal email, check/post on FB, eat, chat with my co-workers about non work related things and take longer than normal bathroom breaks (morning and afternoon for about a half hour each. I’m not actually even doing anything in there but it gives me a chance to post on WB without having to be too sneaky. By The Way when the heck are we getting a WB iPhone app?!). I don’t leave the office during the day unless on lunch but I suppose I could if I really wanted to.
I find that I can get away with more than my co-workers because Fiance works for the same company and my boss pretty much thinks that Fiance is like gods gift to our company. Its a little ridiculous but I’ll take it!
Post # 10
It’s interesting to me to hear about how different offices operate 🙂
@bestbuddies: I think a LOT of what I’ve noticed is what you said – it depends on how much time you have! The offices where it seems like everyone is more “in line” they’re all definitely wayyy busier, running around frantic and working their butts off. The more relaxed places, well, are more relaxed!
One office I used to work in, several years ago now, there was one lady in particular who took personal cell phone calls ALL.THE.TIME. Mostly it was her teenage kids, but seriously, they would call 6-7 times a day (why weren’t they in class!?) and her cell phone ringer was set to ring sooooo loud. She usually grabbed it and would talk fairly quietly (intentionally hushed voice, not that a four foot cube wall really did much for that), which made me feel like she felt like she “shouldn’t” be doing it, even though our boss knew and certainly never said anything to her about it. That office was pretty laid back. I would just get annoyed when she would be in a meeting and her phone would be going off in her cube, especially if it was her daughter, who would call repeatedly if she didn’t pick up. Seriously, turn the ringing on silent before you abandon your phone for two hours….
Post # 11
@ddw: I use my cell phone at work but it on vibrate. My co-worker on the other hand apparently doesn’t know what vibrate is (even though I have personally showed her how to put her phone on vibrate). Her ringer will be up as loud as possible and she will take her sweet time digging it out of her purse. Then when she finally finds it, she’ll stare at the number and contemplate answering it. All while the most annoying ringtone in existence plays through at max levels until the phone goes to voicemail.
I’m extremely busy at work but I still have time to do the things that I checked. My department went from being a department of 6 to a department of 2 in a years time and since April (when we had our last layoffs) I’ve taken on the equivalent of 2 1/2 full time jobs on-top of my already 40 hour work week. I would much rather be busy than twiddling my thumbs. My work days fly by and before I know it, we’re leading home for the day.
I feel like you have to break up the day and do a few non-work related things. I know some offices are super strict but thankfully mine is not. They understand that if you sit someone infront of a computer for 8 hours and make them power through their work, the employees are going to be like zombies. They encourage us to break up the day by surfing the internet though, I think they would prefer we were checking out the companies stock and reading news stories instead of posting on WB. Oh well! =)
Post # 12
I’ve worked for companies that really don’t care so long as the work gets done. Which I think makes better sense to me, so long as you aren’t being disruptive or excessive with the ‘net surfing, etc. I mean, I most people I worked with who checked their “personal email” on the job weren’t like, trying to respond to their blog comments or update their FB page; they were trying to arrange for a plumber to come to their house or something.
And I’ve worked at places where they had site-blockers and so forth and it was a big deal to go get a cup of coffee if–god forbid–you wanted something other than the motor oil in the break room. And heavens forbid you say anything other than “hello” to someone at the water cooler.
People were much happier AND more productive at the first place 🙂
Post # 13
I have worked at two different extremes environments as far as office work goes – the place I worked at before my current job was super laid back and it was a rather larger company. You could do just about everything on that list above, even leave early without notice if you were a salary person, just as long as you got your work done, no one cared.
I currently work in the accounting department and it is SO STRICT. But I still take personal phone calls, text on my cellphone, surf the internet on WB and email, etc. It is not allowed but I figure I put in so much time at that place (salary) and I never get comp days or any bonuses for all the extra time I put in. My other thing about not taking personal phone calls is – how are you supposed to coordinate ‘life’ (doctors appts, etc) when they work you long hours without any breaks?! The other coworker in my department never does anything out of line…and I mean NOTHING…will not even look up from her work to say ‘hi’…very scared older lady…she only looks up to say ‘good morning’ or have a quick little “how was your weekend” chat when the boss isn’t in the department…very sad actually. Needless to say, the first job I described above was way more productive, employee morale was way better, and the turnover rate much less than the strict job I work at now.
Post # 14
I didn’t vote in the poll but I do all of those things except talk with co-workers! But, the big difference is that I’m self employed so I’m allowed to! I get paid per project (no matter how long/short of time it takes me). I’m not on anyone’s time clock. I have deadlines and am paid to meet them. I don’t do any of those things while I’m with a client!
Post # 15
@UpstateCait: The loud ringtones (inevitably not even a good song, but some obnoxious metallic sounding synthesizer thing, haha) drive me crazy!
Post # 16
I do a lot of this. However, my workplace is completely different than an office. I work the night shift in a group home so a lot of this is done to stay awake and is actually encouraged. Also, even when I worked the eleven hour weekend shift, we don’t get designated breaks, so things like going to get some food on the clock are fine since we go with the kids to lunch and dinner. So it’s a completely different environment where they’d rather us play games on our phones, read a magazine, talk, watch TV, etc and sometimes are ok with a 15 minute power nap as long as we are not alone in our specific cottage.