For many of us, spending the best part of our morning and afternoon in the workplace makes it easy for someone to treat the office premises almost like their second home. Having spent so much time in the same area and the people there means that it’s quite easy to let your guard down and have conversations you would otherwise think twice about before engaging in.
Having frank and informal relations with your work colleagues can be a great tool for building trust in the workforce and while you’re on the clock, it’s also important to maintain professional behavior. That being said, some phrases or sentences are a definite no-no in the workplace, unless you’re hell-bent on hurting your professional reputation and losing friends in the process too.
Are You Pregnant?
If you spot a female colleague with a noticeable belly bump, this particular question might seem innocent but in reality, it is anything but. Regardless of whether you’re in a professional setting or at a social gathering, inquiring about someone’s pregnancy is quite inappropriate.
If your co-worker has not shared the news of her pregnancy with her colleagues yet, you’ve done both yourself and her a great disservice by spoiling her exciting announcement. Plus, an impromptu comment like that could even leave your work friend feeling self-conscious about her own body for the rest of the day. Or even worse, she might even that her right to privacy has been violated. Not cool.
How Old Are You?
Depending on how you say it, this particular question could be misinterpreted in so many different ways. If you’re asking this question to someone who is younger than you, you might come off as condescending without even meaning to. Similarly, if the question is posed to someone who is even slightly your senior, it could be interpreted as you making fun of them or their dated professional skills.
Regardless of whether you intend to compliment someone or offer constructive criticism, doing so without touching upon their age would be a much better way to go about it.
We’ve Always Done it This Way
In the workplace or indeed life in general, there are certain tried and tested methods that are the gold standard when it comes to productivity and success rate. That being said, just because one procedure has garnered success in previous years does not mean it cannot be tweaked further to yield even better results.
To achieve a certain end goal, there are always several ways to go about it, which means shutting down an idea presented by a colleague might not be the wisest thing to do. Plus, dismissing new ideas and propositions from your co-workers could leave them feeling that the company discourages innovation or out-of-the-box thinking.