A Comprehensive Guide to The World of an Office Worker

Published on 14/09/2021


  • Introduction
  • The Wonderful World of The Office Worker
  • Top 10 Skills Required to be a Success in The Office
  • Sitting Disease And How to Counteract It
  • Office Politics And All It Involves
  • 9 Challenges an Office Worker Often Faces
  • Getting The Most Out of Your Staff - A Guide For Managers
  • Conclusion 

Working in an office has its challenges, yet it also has many benefits too. For sure, office work isn’t for everyone but it’s a very popular choice too. 

It certainly depends upon the industry niche. It could be insurance, retail, healthcare, education, manufacturing, the list goes on. The work that the business does would certainly grind to a sudden halt without the people sitting at their office desks, doing the admin work day in, day out. 

It’s true that within any office there are countless specific roles. Managers lead and guide employees, who may also be team leaders or supervisors themselves. Everyone needs to be able to get along, at least during working hours, and be able to pull together to reach the team’s common goal. 

Learning how to work in an office environment may seem like an easy task, but having to navigate the many challenges that office work poses may be difficult for some to handle. 

It’s very easy to assume that when you work in an office, you just go to work, sit in your office chair, do your 9-5 hours, and then go home and forget all about it. That’s not what office work is for most people. The majority of employees are very invested in their work and take great pride in the standard of service they provide. Office work is not easy work. Office work means getting along with countless people, facing difficult situations, perhaps monotony occasionally, and trying to come up with new ideas when they may seem scarce on the ground. 

It takes a special type of person to work well with an office. So, whether you’re that particular person and you’re keen to learn more, or you’re a manager and you want to know how to get the best out of your team members, this guide will lift the lid on exactly what it is like to work in the wonderful world an office worker. 

The Wonderful World of The Office Worker

There are many benefits of working in an office environment. 

  • You work with a large range of different people
  • You can set yourself targets and work to reach them
  • You can manage and organise your own time
  • You can work towards career progression, including potential management roles
  • You have your own work station that you can personalise to get the best out of your time
  • There is a large amount of scope for diversification 

The list goes on. 

For most people, working within a team of people who get along well and are all striving for the same goal is something which makes them want to get up and go to work every day. For sure, not every day is going to make you leap out of bed but for the most part, there is a large amount of security in working within an office that helps you to focus on the task at hand and not worry about your job. 

It’s true that there are some downsides too. We won’t dwell on those right now as we’re gong to talk about the main challenges that an office worker faces shortly, but if you’re not in the right office or the right role, it may seem like nothing quite fits properly. When you find a role within an office that makes you feel welcome, you’ll feel the difference immediately. 

Everyone has a different experience of office work and it’s sometimes interesting to find out from another person’s point of view. Check out this video which does exactly that, talking about ths person’s 9-5 experience. 

Top 10 Skills Required to be a Success in The Office

We’ve already mentioned that office work isn’t for everyone, but everyone can adapt their skills and experience to find an office role that is perfect for them. As a manager, you may want to try and hire people who have direct experience but in many cases, that could be a mistake. Transferrable skills are often overlooked and in terms of administrative work within an office, training can often bridge the gap when experience may be slightly lacking. 

While office work isn’t easy, the skills can often be developed. 

So, what are the top skills required to be a success in an office environment?

Communication Skills

Without a doubt, written and verbal communication skills are vital for an office worker. Within the space of any day, you’re going to need to speak to a wide range of different people, over the phone, face to face, and via the written word. 

The ability to listen, to recognise non-verbal cues and to be able to use the right type of language and in the right way are all key skills that any office worker needs to have. 

Time Management Skills 

Deadlines and scheduling are two things which every office worker will face and to be able to handle the properly, time management skills are essential. It’s not just about sitting at your office char, dong your work and then leaving, it’s about getting the right amount of work done, within the right time scales, and to the right level. Time management skills help you do that. 

The Pomodoro Technique is just one way to manage your time. If you've never tried to before, check out this infographic. It may change your working life!

Source - https://blog.juliedesk.com/conquer-time-pomodoro-technique/

Creative Thinking 

Office workers are being asked to collaborate with their team members more and more. In order to come up with new ideas, creative ways forward, and ways to solve problems that have evaded everyone so far, an office worker needs to have a creative mind and be able to think outside of the box. 

Organisational Skills

This one works hand in hand with time management but it is also slightly different. You need to be able to organise yourself and your time properly. That also means arriving to work on time and not having a desk that is so untidy, you can’t find anything!

Dealing With Difficult People

Even if you’re not in a customer facing role, you’re going to have to deal with suppliers, clients and customers in other ways. Sometimes those people may be angry or just plain difficult. A high quality employee knows how to handle difficult people and can remain calm under pressure. 

Conflict Resolution Skills

It’s not just difficult customers and clients that you may face, but also problems with colleagues. Within any office, there will be misunderstandings and even arguments occasionally. A high quality office worker has conflict resolution skills and knows how to handle these types of stations, even if that just means taking a quick five minutes away from the problem, sitting in the office booths until everything has calmed down. 

Computer Skills

Whether it’s a laptop, desktop, tablet, or another type of device, office workers are increasingly required to have top quality computer skills. That may mean typing to a high speed, the ability to use different software packages, or a general knowledge that allows them to navigate their way around a device. Also, staying up to date with computer skills is vital. 

Adaptability & Flexibility

Office workers need to be flexible and adaptable in order to thrive in an office environment. That could be due to a colleague going off sick and them needing to cover their role, or it could be because the department have decided to implement and agile working model. Hot desking is also a possibility, but even without a change of system, the work of an office worker rarely stays the same for long and employees need to be able to roll with the changes and adapt quickly. 

Attention to Detail

Office workers are an integral key in the functioning any business, regardless of what that business does or produces. A small mistake can have major consequences and that means that attention to detail is a key skill every office worker must have. 

Team Player

While not every single day will require collaboration and brainstorming, or even working closely with others, it is vital that employees are team players and work towards the office’s common goal. They should also be able to work individually when the task at hand calls for it. 

Sitting Disease And How to Counteract It

One challenge that many office workers face is sitting disease

The very notion may sound ridiculous - how can sitting down harm you? Well, sitting for too long can be very harmful indeed, to the point where it causes an office worker to be labelled as sedentary. That’s pretty insulting if you have an office worker who jogs before work and then goes to the gym afterwards, but the hours they spend sitting at their designer office chair during the day, cancels all of that out in terms of their health. 

There are many exercises for office workers that can be done, such as stretches and implementing active working in general, but a lot of it comes down to awareness. Not many office workers understand the notion that sitting for too long is harmful. It seems contradictory to say that you should getup and move around more while also saying that you need to hit your targets. 

The good news is that there are many ways you can be more active at work and still hit your productivity levels. A sitting and standing routine is one. You can easily use a stand height desk or a height adjustable desk, perhaps even a laptop riser, and get a workout while you do work your way through your daily tasks. 

Walking or standing meetings are another option, while also ensuring that you’re supported and comfortable when you are sitting, by choosing the best office chair for your needs. Walking to work is a good choice, as well as going for a walk on your lunch break. There are many ways you can be more mindful of getting up more during your working day. 

For a quick overview of why sitting disease is such a problem, check out this infographic. 

Source - https://www.everydayperformancetherapy.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/Sitting-Is-A-Death-Trap-Infographic.jpg

Office Politics And All It Involves

You might be reading this guide and wondering where the ‘wonderful’ comes into it! After all, we’re highlighting challenges, but it’s simply important to know what they are so you can overcome them. After that, the good stuff happens!

Another particular issue that many office workers face occasionally is the work of office politics. Office gossip is rife in most buildings and while it might seem harmless, it can actually be pretty detrimental if you’re the one being gossiped about. Even if you’re not, it causes cliques and divisions within an office, especially an open plan one. 

Office politics is a pretty wide-ranging term. It can be anything from the aforementioned gossip to having an employee who is often seen as somehow ‘superior’ even thought they’re the same level as everyone else. Perhaps this is because they’re quite extroverted and domineering, it could be because they’ve been in the office a long time. 

Whatever the issue, it’s damaging on some level. Everyone should be treated equally and fairly. It doesn’t always happen, and in that case, managers need to keep a close eye on what is going on in the office and address it before it spirals into something which is much harder to solve. 

If gossip is an issue in your office, check out this video for some useful information. 

9 Challenges an Office Worker Often Faces

The challenges that an office worker faces on a daily basis can often be minimised or even banished. It just comes down to awareness and good management. 

In this section, let’s highlight the common challenges that office workers often face and how they can be improved drastically, to make working days much better. 

Uncomfortable Office or Workstation

Sitting all day at an uncomfortable desk or office chair is not going to make anyone feel good. It can also cause musculoskeletal problems and chronic pain over time. Of course, it also drags your mood down and causes problems with concentration. 

Ergonomic office furniture is key here. This allows every piece of furniture to be adjusted to the individual needs of the user. Its also important to be knowledgable about how to sit correctly, to avoid problems. Of course, we’ve also talked about getting up and moving around often, to avoid the perils of sitting disease. 

Workplace Conflict

No matter whether you have three or thirty people in your office, there are going to be misunderstandings sometimes. It’s not possible to get along with everyone all of the time and sometimes depending upon the station, ths can boil over. Workplace conflict is something everyone will face to some degree during their office worker career. 

It’s a good idea to give everyone conflict resolution training but also ensure, as a manager, that the team is pulling together in the right direction. Increasing team morale and team spirit will help to reduce the severity of any conflict. 

Workplace Stress

Workplace stress is a huge issue the world over but there is a lot that can be done in the workplace. Many employees are worried about admitting that they’re feeling stressed or under pressure and as such, they keep it to themselves and try to handle it alone. That never works. Managers need to have an open door policy to allow employees to feel able to approach them to talk about problems. 

Having stress management training is also a good idea and helps to create a culture of openness within the office. 

Unfair Workloads or Deadlines

Having an unfair workload or impossible deadline creates stress and increases the chances of mistakes happening. It can also contribute towards workplace conflict, if one employee seems to have less work than everyone else. 

This is a managerial issue. Managers need to ensure that they’re not giving more work to specific employees and not others and they also need to be sure that the work they’re giving people is realistic and do-able to begin with. This also means that any deadlines set are not wildly unrealistic or designed to create stress.  

Lack of Training

If employees don’t feel they have the necessary training to do the job to the best of their ability, they’re going to feel frustrated and it's going to affect morale within the office. Of course, this can be easily remedied. Managers need to ensure that everyone has access to the training they need and that employees can request any specific training they would like to have. 

During staff development reviews, or appraisals, any training needs can be identified and a plan of action put into place to ensure it happens in a timely manner. 

Poor Management

Poor management is one of the main reasons for employees leaving a business. If the manager at the helm is unsupportive and doesn’t guide employees in the right way, they’re quickly going to become frustrated, annoyed, and feel a total lack of value and support. 

The only way to change this particular challenge is for managers to be mindful of their own practice. Do you think you’re a good manager? How can you be sure? Never be afraid to ask for feedback; it’s the only way to learn and improve. 

Far too many managers treat their employees as nothing more than a number but if you want to empower your employees and ensure productivity and profits, you have to treat them as the valuable individuals they are. 

Lack of Progression Opportunities

Not everyone wants to aim for a promotion or move up into management, some people are pretty happy collaborating around the modern boardroom tables and sitting at their desks day in, day out. That’s fine. But many employees working in offices don’t want to stay in the same role for the rest of their career. If there are no progression opportunities within the business that’s not only frustrating, but it's likely to cause them to look elsewhere for employment opportunities. 

Look towards promoting from within your office rather than always looking to recruit from outside. Also, identify the employees who would like to move up in the business from their staff development reviews. Aim to help develop your employees and give them the opportunities they want and need. By doing that, they’ll stick with you and they’ll give you their best. 

Monotony And Boredom

This isn't always an issue for all office workers but for some, office work can be monotonous and even boring. It totally depends upon the role. For that reason, it's a good idea to try and involve employees in problem solving and creative ideas. Try and make the work as exciting as possible by giving everyone a chance to shine and show their ideas and suggestions. Collaboration is a great way to make any type of work more exciting!

Ensuring that team spirit is high within the office also helps as this makes it a joy to go to work, rather than the opposite. 

Feeling Undervalued 

When a manager doesn’t do their job properly and doesn’t value their staff, everything is domed to fail. Nobody wants to work in an office and know that their manager doesn't really think they’re up to the job or that they’re not valued in anyway. Unfortunately, some office workers do feel that way and it's nothing short of a bad reflection on their managers. 

But it’s not all bad!

We should point out that the team spirit and cammeraderie of working in an office can be a reason to stick with a job for a long time. Many office workers feel more than satisfied with their jobs and have a great manager to support them. They’re regularly asked for their opinions and listened to without fail. 

So, you could argue that whether working in an office is valuable or not completely comes down to the business you’re working for and how it’s run. Job satisfaction is everything at the end of the day. Not sure why? Check out this video. 

Getting The Most Out of Your Staff - A Guide For Managers

With all of this information in mind, has it opened your eyes to the real world experiences of an office worker? Does it make you see things in a different light?

Managers have the power to change a bad situation and turn it into a rewardable and enjoyable one. So, how can you do that? Here’s a few quick ideas that you can vow to look into in more detail. 

  • Ensure safe working practices in an office environment so employees feel safe and supported
  • Purchase ergonomic office furniture to reduce chronic pain and ensure comfort
  • Ask your employees for their ideas and suggestions - and make sure that you actually listen! 
  • Understand that your biggest asset in the entire business is your workforce
  • Create an office layout and design that is attractive, comfortable, and inspiring 
  • Have an open door policy and let your employees know that they can approach you to talk about anything, whenever they need to 
  • Create a high quality health and well-being package for your employees
  • Conduct yearly staff development reviews to identify any training needs or areas of support
  • Encourage and support employees who want to progress within the company and give them opportunities when appropriate 
  • Work to reduce conflicts quickly and fairly, always being impartial
  • Never force too much work onto one employee and always give fair and realistic deadlines
  • Never assume that you’re the finished article as a manager, always ask for feedback and work to improve for the sake of your employees
  • Understand the importance of morale - a happy and healthy workplace is a productive workplace. 

Keeping morale high is key and has major benefits across the board. From the point of view of an office worker, working in a space that feels positive and upbeat is so much better. If you’re keen to look at how to raise morale in your office, check out this infographic for a few tips. 

Source - https://brendamarreropr.com/how-to-keep-employee-morale-up-during-difficult-times/


You might have thought you knew what it was like for your employees, sitting at their designer office desks day in, day out, but has this guide change your mind at all?

It’s not the easiest of roles. There are countless challenges that may happen during the course of any single day, but that's not to say that office work isn’t challenging. It is hugely rewarding, as long as you’re in the right role. 

Employees have a responsibility to ensure that the’yre working in a way that suits them and helps them to fit into the team, but managers have a huge responsibility to provide the right type of working environment. 

When both sides come together, the outcome is beneficial for all. 

So, if you thought you knew about the wonderful world of the office worker, maybe this guide has opened your eyes to the potential ups, downs, and how it can all be made far easier for everyone involved! 

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