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Some Great Office Tips

Posted By Allison Streepey, B.A., CRS, PLS, Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Whether you are just starting a job or have been working a long time, there are always great tips to help you better manage yourself and your job.  The work environment takes up about a third of our lives and is essentially our daytime home.  Treat it as such.  Be kind to your work family and you will be happier too.  Here are some random great tips to help you along the way:

  • A lot will be expected of you and you can rise to the occasion.  Get ready to learn how to do almost anything in an office setting.  It is a fine place to learn and grow as a professional.
  • Always keep your files in such good order that if you are unavailable, someone else could pick it up and work it. ~ Linda Adair, PLS
  • Always have paper and pencil in hand because someone may have a request and you have a lot on your mind, so write everything down!
  • Go to the boss first—for everything.  If you find a problem, before complaining, think of some solutions to present to the boss.  The same process will work for opportunities.
  • Keep your sleepless nights and other woes to yourself.  If you are constantly complaining or making excuses about the little things, it adds up.  You might be pegged as unreliable.
  • If you leave your current position, the best thing to do is not to burn bridges.  You do not really know how many people your coworkers know who could affect your career.
  • Always do the important things first.
  • Keep good notes in your file and in your “brain.”  The “brain” is your personal office manual of how to do everything.  It should include the employee manual or employee memos and human resources policies.  It could be a binder or in an electronic folder.  It is really great to have one—especially if there are tasks that you handle infrequently.
  • Always dress appropriately even on casual days.  Find out if there is a dress code.  If there is not or when in doubt, keep it covered.  You will be comfortable and so will everyone else.
  • Continue to work on grammar and writing skills.  There are so many great resources available for quick access via the web and the gold standard book is, of course, The Gregg Reference Manual.  There is also the website titled Proof That Blog by Kathy Sieckman, PP, PLS-SC, ACP, at http://proofthatblog.com/about-proof-that/
  • To improve writing, read a lot and write as much as you can.
  • Take a little time at the end of the day to plan for the next day.  Planning time is never wasted.  It avoids indecision and chaos.
  • If you make a mistake, own it and get with your boss immediately on how to resolve it.  Mistakes really increase the capacity to learn.  Mistakes will occasionally happen, so always do your best and do each task with great care.
  • Expect conflicts.  Try to rise above personal issues and deal with the task at hand.  It is not so much what happens but how you deal with it that matters.
  • When you get to work, smile and say “good morning.”  If you do not feel well, either stay home or act like you are glad to be there.  This pays the bills, you know.  Be glad to have a job. If you do not like it, spare others your misery and leave.
  • Look at your company’s website or other marketing materials.  Learn everything you can about where you work.
  • Ask a lot of questions—about anything.  It is better to find out on the front end when taking on a project than it is to mess it up and have to go back and correct it.  Asking for instructions first and being sure you understand them will make the process much easier.
  • Self-management and self-control are highly valued skills.  It is called professionalism.  At a certain point, we are all expected to act as adults.  You know what that means:  do the right thing.  It may not be fast or easy, but do the right thing.
  • Face it, you are not going to like everyone and everyone is not going to like you.  You are both at work to do a job.  Focus on the job and be civil.  Remember, they may be your boss one day.
  • Remember, attitude is everything.  You never know who you will meet or what you will be asked to do.  Answer with enthusiasm and curiosity.  Loving to learn will take you a long way in your life.
  • Keep track of special projects that you do to use for résumé building.  Remember, in legal work, never talk about the cases in your office.  Confidentiality always comes first.
  • Keep a file of emails, letters, and notes from people thanking you for a job well done.  This is a good thing to read when you need a boost.
  • That old adage is true:  be nice to everyone on your way up because you will see the same folks on your way down.  It just makes good sense to be nice to everyone anyway.  It makes for a better world.
  • Remember to back up your documents and always have a contingency plan.  Anything could happen and does from time to time.  Be ready.
  • Take advantage of professional development opportunities that are offered in your office.  These opportunities are provided to the employees for a reason:  they want you to be the best you can be.
  • Look for skills that you can strengthen.  Make a list of what you want to learn.  Watch for opportunities to arise in a class, seminar, or online to achieve these goals.  When you have that rare moment of “down time” at work, you could take a webinar or read a chapter of a book.
  • Keep your desk and files in order.  This may seem obvious, but this act will help keep your mind clear as well.  At least clean your area on Friday afternoons as the last task of the day so you can come in fresh on Monday.

Can you think of some more?  If so, I challenge you to write an article about them.  You could take one idea and expound on it or tell us some history about it or how you came to learn about it or use it.


Every day is what you make of it, so try to make it a great one!

Allison holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Arts and Humanities from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and graduated with honors.  She is nationally certified as a Professional Legal Secretary from NALS…the Association for Legal Professionals.  Allison holds UAMS Certifications in Grants Management and as a Research Specialist.  Currently she is the Department Business Administrator for the office of Educational Development.  She is the only person on the UAMS campus who has experience in pre- and post-award grants management (College of Nursing and Educational Development), grants administration for UAMS (Office of Research and Sponsored Programs), and served as an Institutional Review Board (IRB) Administrator.  This is her 10th year as a member of NALS and every year gets better with more NALS Pals and more challenges.  Allison is a member of the NALS Editorial Board and loves working with the board members, finding attorney authors, and encouraging other writers.

Tags:  Excellent. A refresher is always helpful and appr 

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