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Seven Ways to Be Easy to Work With

easy to work withIt’s often not the work we do that makes work hard; sometimes it’s the people we work with that makes work harder than it has to be.

Below are seven practices that distinguish people we want to work with from those we wish would go work for a competitor.

How to Be Easy to Work with Tip Number One: The simplest thing you can do right now to be easy to work with is to put all of your contact information in your email salutation in a format that can be easily copied and pasted or called from a cell phone, aka not an image.

How to Be Easy to Work with Tip Number Two; Update your out-of-office message when you return from a trip.

How to Be Easy to Work with Tip Number Three: Accept and deny meeting requests when you receive them, even if you’re not sure you’ll be able to attend. Knowing who can and can’t attend helps the meeting organizer plan. You can always update your status if something changes.

How to Be Easy to Work with Tip Number Four: Reply to emails within 48-hours, even if you don’t have the information for which you’re being asked. Tell people you got their message and when they can expect to receive the information they asked for.

How to Be Easy to Work with Tip Number Five: Don’t gossip. I could say a lot about this, but you don’t have time to read it. So I won’t. I’ll leave it at this, don’t talk about other people when they’re not present and you’ll be someone people will line up to work with.

How to Be Easy to Work with Tip Number Six: Do the things you say you will do, when you say you will do them. When you realize you can’t keep a commitment, tell people as soon as you know, so they can plan. Most of us don’t want to admit that we’re going to miss a deadline, so we wait until the 11th hour to tell the people who will be impacted. Waiting to renegotiate a deadline puts people in a worse position than telling people as soon as you know.

How to Be Easy to Work with Tip Number Seven: Avoid doing the things that you know annoy others. I’ll get us started with a list of the things that most commonly annoy people at work. Please add a comment to the blog with all the things I missed. It will be fun! Sanctioned venting. Who can turn that down?

  • Leaving dishes in the sink like mommy works there
  • Taking phone calls from a cubicle via speaker phone
  • Almost finishing a pot of coffee, but not making more
  • Listening to music and videos without headphones from your desk
  • Having lots of regular visitors or loud phone conversations from your cubicle
  • Surfing the internet versus working
  • Leaving your alerts on your cell phone, so everyone in your vicinity knows each time you get a text message

I could go on, but I’ll leave the rest to you. Add a comment with the simple things people can start or stop doing to be easy to work with!

easy to work with


Shari Harley is the founder and President of Candid Culture, a Denver-based training firm that is bringing candor back to the workplace, making it easier to give feedback at work. Shari is the author of the business communication book How to Say Anything to Anyone: A Guide to Building Business Relationships that Really Work. She is a keynote speaker at conferences and does training throughout the U.S. Learn more about Shari Harley and Candid Culture’s training programs at

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20 Responses to “Seven Ways to Be Easy to Work With”

  1. Pam says:

    Don’t come to meetings ten minutes late and expect everyone to spend the next five minutes repeating what you missed!

  2. GC says:

    Talking over cubicle walls instead of getting up and walking over to someone. Then others in the office start chiming in.

  3. Susan Blair says:

    Announcing you have a phone call by yelling from one office to another instead of simply transferring the call.

    Not using the out of office feature for emails when you know you will be out of the office.

  4. AV says:

    Try Keeping conversation volume down as your fellow employees may be on a phone call. You may have “laid back” atmosphere, but that doesn’t mean it’s okay to obnoxiously loud.

  5. Kathy L says:

    Leaving a voice mail without any detail! A brief summary of why you’re calling is helpful – so that I can be prepared when I call you back … saving us BOTH time. Oh, and leave your call back number / extension at the beginning AND the end of your message. This way, if I missed it the first time I don’t have to listen to your entire message again to get your number.

  6. LB says:

    Dropping in someone’s office asking if they “have a sec” when clearly the issue you have will require some time to discuss.

  7. Watch your tone of voice. Just because you are having a bad day don’t take it out on your co-workers.

  8. Judy says:

    Sniffing instead of using a tissue to blow your nose.

  9. Eris says:

    Failing to clearly and slooowly enunciate your name and phone number when you leave a message. Failing to spell a name that might be unusual or difficult to understand.

    (Why do so many people SPEED UP and MUMBLE when they get to what is, for the receiver, the most important piece of data in the message?!?)

  10. ML says:

    Being out of office, planned and not telling your immediate team you will be in late, or not at all.

  11. SI says:

    Set clear expectations for your work environment, no matter where you fall in the organizational ladder.

  12. Peg says:

    Checking email during meetings rather than paying attention to what is being disucssed.

  13. J says:

    Don’t “shop lift” items from my cubicle! If I’m in the office – simply ask. I’d be more than happy to lend you a stapler, tape, calculator, etc. – if you return it. If I’m not in the office – don’t take my things. It’s just rude.

  14. L says:

    Have an agenda for your meeting. Holding meetings without agendas or inviting people that have no reason to be there is a waste of time. An agenda beforehand helps people to understand where they fit in and bow out if they don’t need to be present. I’ve also been trying to set the agenda for meetings I organize to start at 5 after the hour and end at 5 minutes to, to provide people time to get from one poorly planned meeting to their next without missing anything.

    Copying unnecessary people on an email – similar to the above. If I don’t really need to be on this email chain, please don’t include me!

  15. nicole says:

    Failure to plan on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part. Set reasonable expectations.

  16. Donna Williams says:

    1. Turn your phone to silent during meetings. It’s distracting to hear beeps and chirps throughout a meeting.

    2. We’ve always done it that way is not an appropriate answer,

  17. Kim says:

    Not cleaning out the community microwave after your soup, spaghetti, etc. splattered all over the inside when you were warming your lunch.

  18. Eve says:

    Treat everyone, and I mean everyone (janitor to CEO) with respect, consideration and dignity…. even when you are rushed or having a bad day, or they seem to “not have a clue”. Please, excuse me, and thank you, go a long way!
    OH…. and keep the perfume/cologne to a bare minimum, if at all. It can cause some people to feel ill…. even if it does smell good to you.

  19. Christy says:

    Popping your gum in a cubicle environment.

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