Whilst the careers service can help with getting jobs and internships, once you are in a job there might be other instances which may cause some confusion. Below are some examples of situations which can arise in a workplace environment and how to deal with them.
Workplace Conversations - It is important to remember that there will be topics which are appropriate and inappropriate for the workplace. Think back to Socialeyes and try using the ‘WORM’ (Weather, Occupation, Recreation, Media) guide when having conversations. When your colleagues are busy discussing something work related, try to keep on topic. If everyone is on a lunch break, do not bring up something work related, instead wait until lunch break is over and then ask.
Understanding Workplace ‘Banter’ - The National Autistic Society (2016) describes workplace banter as ‘short bursts of conversation which happen throughout the day’ and it is often the type of conversation people have whilst they are still doing other things. Examples of banter include; talking about a recent TV show or the latest movie at the cinema. Examples of inappropriate banter include being insulting to other colleagues and talking about topics which are likely to cause offence and upset.
The ‘Unspoken Office Rules’ - In most office environments there will be some unspoken office rules. This can change depending on what type of organisation you work for. For example, most offices have a shared kitchenette where you can prepare your lunch. It’s important to be considerate of others by keeping the equipment clean after you use it. Some people have their own tea cups and so you may want to bring in your own so you do not accidently take someone else’s. Other unspoken rules can include:
Making tea or coffee - If your office is small, you could ask if anyone would like a tea or coffee, if you are making one for yourself. Whereas if there are lots of people, for example in a call centre, you would just make a drink for yourself.
Using the shared office fridge – Never take someone else’s lunch from the fridge and make sure your lunch is properly labelled and contained in the fridge so it does not spill and make a mess. Remember to not leave any food in the fridge which might go out of date. For example over the weekend or when you are on holiday.
Using shared milk, tea and coffee –In most workplaces everyone can use the milk, tea and coffee in the fridge. If you are not sure about this, then you can ask your manager about it. Sometimes everyone in the office may take turns in buying the milk and biscuits, so if you are in doubt, just ask.
The National Autistic Society has some great advice on workplace etiquette. To access it, click here.
The National Autistic Society. (2016). Advice about Work. Available: http://www.autism.org.uk/about/adult-life/work.aspx. Last accessed 9th May 2018.