The office survival guide. 22 July 2015 The 'unsaid protocols' of the workplace

The first rule of office survival? No-one talks about office survival. There’s an unsaid protocol to surviving a working day, some do’s a couple of don’ts and a range of behaviours that come under the term ‘acceptable’ and its negative counterpart.

We suspect your office has a similar code of conduct and would love to hear from you with any new considerations, feel free to drop me a line at [email protected]


1. Never make a ‘jack brew.’ Anyone who makes a cup of tea without offering a round is asking for trouble.

2. Don’t even think about doing a tea run without bringing down a plate of biscuits. Avoid ‘evils’ by making sure the selection is diverse and not just your personal favourites.

3. Don’t wait until Fridays for office treats. If you weren’t the last person to bring back an M&S ‘2 for £4’ then it’s your turn again.

4. Keep the fridge tidy. It only takes one precariously poised punnet of pomegranate seeds to upset the whole system. Observe ‘Use By’ dates or incur the wrath of Fiona.

5. Load up and empty: Don’t just stand there waiting for the kettle to boil, empty that dishwasher! And that teaspoon you just used? Don’t toss it into the sink, wash it or load it.

6. Do stuff at the weekend / Do nothing at the weekend. Either way, make it sound amazing. It’s not a competition, it’s a Monday morning conversation, that’s all.

7. Layer up. Getting through a working day in press night garb is trying at the best of times. Layers can be shed or added depending on the time of year, weather and job.

8. Don’t pretend you don’t read the Daily Mail sidebar, but don’t spend too long on it.

9. Choose your soundtrack wisely. Keeping everyone happy with your playlist or radio station choices is hard work. ‘Songs from the Shows’ is not a default setting for everyone.

10. Must love Whippets. We have all warmed to Willoughby the Whippet. He is a regular fixture and feels quite at home here. It’s hard to imagine Fridays without him so get used to it.

11. Be patient for the Friday Treat reveal. If you’re wondering what it’s going to be on Monday, you need to get more of a life.

12. Never ‘Reply All’ and always check your CCs. No one else wants to know what your Starbucks order is and clients are not interested in the great Creme Eggs vs Lindt Bunnies debate.

13. You don’t need to know everything. If someone asks you a question and you don’t know the answer, you really can just say ‘I don’t know’ and live to tell the tale.

14. Only ever call someone by their surname ironically. This isn’t public school.

15. It’s fine to be competitive. When people say ‘it’s not a competition’, they are lying, but when they say ‘it’s the taking part that counts’ it’s true. Ok, that second part is a lie too.


Paul Goodman


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