Make Friends, Not Enemies.

90 days of spring logo-1Work Harmony: The Rule of Three.

A healthy work environment is highly coveted and not everyone is lucky enough to be in one. In fact, some people out there are painfully stuck in a toxic work environment where reinforcing defence shields against unsavoury workplace occurences is a daily necessity.

As for me, I am lucky to be in a collaborative team, where Imran, Robin and my fellow intern, Si Qi (Tofu) Lee maintain a friendly, transparent and constructive environment for learning and work. With that being said, our work harmony does not comes effortlessly or by chance. We all follow some ground rules in respecting others to become good team players – here are my top THREE tips that have helped me maintain work harmony.

Refrain from Office Gossip

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People are naturally drawn to other people’s stories. Lunch time with Imran, Robin and Tofu are usually filled with casual conversations to take our minds off work and to keep us updated. However, getting drowned in gossiping or sharing overly personal information about others is a different story. These tantalizing information may be able to spice up your workday, but office gossip puts your career at risk because it damages trust and destroys harmony at work. What you say in the workplace will most probably spread out, often over a much wider radius than desired. So be mindful of your words, otherwise you may get trapped in the unhealthy cycle of endless gossiping.

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Although it may seem impossible to completely ignore gossip, there are still some tactful ways to handle the office’s resident tattertale(s).  When your colleagues start to engage themselves in rumors, steer clear. Better yet, redirect the conversation back to work-related topics or other areas of interest. If all efforts fail, gracefully exit the conversation by using reasonable excuses such as “Sorry, I have to take this call” or “Excuse me, I have to get to a meeting”. Alternatively, you can confront the gossiper by politely asking “Why are you sharing this information with me?” and try to get him or her to state professional and factual reasons for what being said. In this way, you are giving them a clear signal and they will probably turn off their ‘gossip mode’ whenever speaking to you.

Set your boundaries

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In today’s world where business is conducted 24/7, staff are expected to be available round the clock. Without setting your work boundaries or personal limits, you would be staying at your cubicle from dawn to dusk everyday.

What I do every day is to make a to-do list and ask Imran about what tasks I should be working on. Then, I rank them in terms of priority and start killing them off one by one. Through managing this to-do list, I am able to set boundaries and visualize what my priorities are. The more assertive you are about your own limits, the more control you have over your time at work. With that, stress is reduced and work harmony is maintained.

Give a hand whenever you can

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With that being said, it does not mean that I should isolate myself from my colleagues. Everyone needs a helping hand at times and I am not hesitant about helping out when the time calls for it.

The more you know, the more you can help. As a marketing apprentice who must support the business, I try to pick up and hone as many skills as possible. Robin had once taught me how to lock a contract pdf file using Adobe Acrobat to prevent terms and conditions from being edited. Although simple, it came in handy when I was able to help the consultants enhance the security of their contracts. If I did not learn, I would not have been able to help them even though I would like to. So remember to build up your skill sets (whether big or small) for future use. 

A skillful man who doesn’t know what people need, cannot help them. Therefore, it is also necessary to learn how to anticipate the needs of others. During the time in Spring, I have observed what others are doing, tried to find the link between departments and individuals, listened closely to what they say, and tried to understand them. This makes me realize that the business, which was seemingly complex at the beginning, is much simpler once I understand how it functions. As a result, this allows me to become more preemptive, helpful and reliable than before.

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Since every workplace is different, I believe there is no such ultimate list for how you can best achieve work harmony. However, looking at the basics, the abovementioned tips will come in useful in keeping harmony in the workplace while avoiding unhealthy conflict. Applying these tips may be challenging, but with everyone working together to achieve a harmonious working environment, it will never be too tough to attain it.












Categories: 90 Days of Spring


A pragmatic dreamer, Thao is driven to conceptual ideas into concrete action plans, during her waking hours. A strong believer in "The best marketing doesn't feel like marketing", her bag of tricks includes 5 years worth of marketing campaigning, social media jaunts, and grand design schemes. She currently wants to bring her A-game to Spring.

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