Posts Tagged ‘workplace relationships’

Social networking: Using Facebook as a workplace tool

January 11, 2009

One company grabbing the social networking trend is Serena Software, who have introduced Facebook Fridays for their staff. On Fridays, staff can spend an hour updating their sites and contacting friends and co-workers, using the site as a de-facto intranet and watercooler. Building stronger relationships within the workplace and also encouraging social interaction with potential clients and employees is obviously important, and social networks like Facebook are the way people are now doing it. You can now use social networking to get a job, as well as check on potential employees’ social lives. Recruitment is also moving online with LinkedIn becoming the professional choice. 

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Business email: 22 tips for appropriate communication

August 29, 2008
Business email

Business email

Email is the primary way businesses communicate, as well as how people interact with friends. But there are important differences between the style and content of these types of emails. The following are some tips to help you communicate appropriately on business email.


  1. Be careful what you say in emails. Remember that this is still professional communication. Re-read your emails before you send them to ensure you have been professional.
  2. Make sure you know your company policy about email communication so you are not caught out with personal email. Some companies will ban social networking sites. Some prohibit personal email on company computers. If you know the policy, you won’t make mistakes.
  3. Business communication is for recording, transferring or communicating information. It should not be overly emotional or full of non-factual information. It should be clear, concise and easy to understand
  4. Business communication should also express thoughts in a careful way. Think before you write, and think again before you send.
  5. If the email is particularly important, it may be beneficial to get someone else to read it before sending to a wider group. Often someone else will see flaws in your approach, and change the wording to be more objective.
  6. Business email should also protect confidentiality of the business, so be aware of what you are sending externally.
  7. Question whether you need an email at all. Would this be better done through a phone call or a meeting? If you think you are emotional about the issue, speaking about it can be better than writing so your thoughts are not captured in an email which may jeopardise your position later.
  8. Always state facts objectively, as opposed to your feelings on the matter. You can express an opinion but back it up with facts and not emotion.
  9. Don’t be abusive on email. Always use professional language.
  10. There is a difference between knowing something and hearing about something. Be sure you get your facts right. Don’t gossip on work email.
  11. Leave out irrelevant information from your communications. People are busy now so just state what is necessary.
  12. Make sure email headers contain enough information so people know what they are about to read.
  13. It is best to avoid humour and sarcasm in email as it doesn’t cross the medium well, especially if someone has a different sense of humour to you. Certain types of humour can also be considered harassment, so just avoid it in workplace communication. 
  14. Defamation is when untrue information is communicated that could damage someone’s reputation. This can sometimes be mistakenly done on email.
  15. Never email anything you don’t want that person to read – as chances are, they will end up seeing it even if they are not on the original mailing list.
  16. Email lasts forever. Even if you think you have deleted it, it can be pulled from the backups.
  17. Email is not always private. Assume it can be seen or accessed easily.
  18. Be careful if you communicate with your lawyer by e‑mail. In certain countries, doing so could result in the loss of the attorney-client privilege, since an e‑mail can be read by someone other than the attorney or client more easily than other forms of communication.
  19. Protect access to your computer and to your email accounts. Someone could send an email from your address that could jeopardise your position.
  20. Be careful of clicking “reply to all”. Do all those people really need to see your comments. Only copy people in if they need to be part of the decision/ communication.
  21. No copyrighted material should be transmitted unless you first obtain permission from the copyright owner. If you’re ever not sure if sending an e‑mail attachment will violate copyright laws, ask your company’s law department.
  22. When emailing a member of the opposite sex, keep all written business communication professional. Don’t flirt by email as this can easily be found out by others.
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Multi-Cultural Workplaces: 7 ways to make them work

July 30, 2008
Multicultural workplaces

Multicultural workplaces

Nowadays, people work in global offices with colleagues from different worldviews, religions and attitudes. It is important to be aware of cultural differences and how they affect team dynamics, communication and management style. Multi-cultural workplaces also offer a wealth of new experience and self-growth opportunities. Here are 7 ways to improve multicultural relationships in your workplace.    

  • 1. Make it ok to ask questions. Some people may feel that they cannot ask a person where s/he is from for fear of being offensive or being seen as racist in some way. This can prevent communication, team effort and even friendship from happening. Encourage people to talk about where they are from, and their culture. Most misunderstanding comes from lack of communication. If you can ask questions of one another, then the growth in relationship will enable more effective working together.


  • 2. Learn about each other’s countries and cultures. Many people want to travel to exotic places and experience a different culture. But nowadays, there might be someone from one of those countries in the office. Put a map on the wall and stick pins in it linked to photos of your team members so you can see where people are from. Encourage people to add to the display with information and other pictures and use it as a group talking point.
  • 3. Be respectful and open-minded. Cultural differences can sometimes be confusing or misinterpreted. Be respectful of the way other people work and interact. Try to learn from them instead of considering your way to be the best and criticising. Apologise if you feel you might have offended someone, and ask them how you can behave more appropriately in the future. Speak out again discrimination in the workplace and encourage understanding.
  • 4. Celebrate holidays of other cultures. Festivals and celebration are a great way to learn about other cultures. Have a lunchtime meeting where you share some traditional food and discuss what the festival means. People are the same underneath and festivals often reflect what is important to all cultures – family, faith, children, honouring the past and looking to the future.
  • 5. Create cultural awareness factsheets. If your company employs people from other countries, give them some material on what it is like to work in your company and country. If you send employees overseas to meetings or conferences, they should also know how to work in those cultures. For example, what is the customary greeting within each culture? These worksheets will help provide context for interactions and enable easier work relationships.
  • 6. Treat people as individuals. Culture does not define a person, and cultural stereotypes can also be responsible for more misunderstanding. Don’t jump to conclusions just because someone is from a certain place. Get to know people as individuals regardless of their culture.
  • 7. Identify gaps in your own knowledge. We are all a work-in-progress, and we can always learn more. Identify what you don’t know about your co-workers and their culture. What can you learn about your own culture that affects the way you work? How can you improve the situation so your team can work more effectively together?

“Understand the differences; act on the commonalities” – Andrew Masondo, African National Congress
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