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October 30, 2019

Scary situations we face at work (and how to deal with them)

by Louise Cunnah posted in Quick Tips.

Ayoa | Scary situations we face at work (and how to deal with them)
Forget ghouls, ghosts and goblins; anyone that works in an office environment knows that there are much scarier things you can experience on a day-to-day basis than these! Try unexpected meetings, looming deadlines and that big performance review you’ve been counting down to for the past few weeks.

Yep, these can all be tricky situations for even the most confident person to face – but they really don’t need to be. As the Ghostbusters do with paranormal entities, dealing with these scenarios like a pro is the best way to overcome them and achieve the best outcome possible.

In honour of the spooky season, we’ve rounded up some of the scariest situations everyone has faced at work – and if you haven’t yourself, then you probably know of someone that has! We also share our best advice on what you should do if these scenarios sneak up to haunt you this Halloween…

Being called into a short-notice meeting

Let’s set the scene; you sit down at your desk at 9:00 AM, still a little sleepy and thinking about what time you’re going to make your first visit to the coffee machine. You open your inbox and see an invite for a meeting in an hour’s time. It’s the first time you’ve heard of this meeting – panic should ensue, right? Not necessarily. Before you let worry take hold of you, take a deep breath, determine how much time you have, and get ready to do some quick planning; you’re probably more prepared than you think…

The most useful thing to do at this point is to establish what you already know and identify any gaps in your knowledge. Put this into a list or a Mind Map and split it into sections such as Who, What, When, Where and Why, and think about the questions you are likely to be asked in the meeting. The reason that a Mind Map is helpful in this scenario is that it will help your brain make associations and spark new ideas. Once you know what’s missing, you can ask others for more information and conduct your own quick research to avoid being caught off guard.

Having more deadlines that you can keep track of

Think Freddy Kruger is scary? Try having multiple big projects due in one week! Unfortunately, though, most jobs come with important deadlines. Chances are, there’s one you’re dreading right now – and maybe a few you’ve forgotten about. It’s no wonder that they’re a big cause of worry, with a 2017 survey from CareerCast discovering that 30% of workers felt deadlines were the biggest contributor to their stress. However, deadlines are important; they encourage us to work more efficiently and ensure we get things done. You just need to manage them properly.

Managing multiple deadlines isn’t rocket science. Our advice? Take advantage of digital tools (such as online calendars and task management software) to keep track of what needs to be done and when. Set reminders to keep yourself on track. You’ll also be able to see all of your outstanding tasks at a glance, so you can immediately weigh up your workload and priorities. This will make it easier for you to determine if a deadline demon can’t be vanquished on time, so you can prepare for it before it’s too late.

Not knowing where to start with a big project

Being tasked with managing a large project is a great opportunity for you to shine, plus there’s no feeling like finally completing something that you’ve put a lot of your time and effort into. Just don’t let the thought of having this responsibility give you the heebie-jeebies! Breaking a project down into smaller chunks (whether this is individual tasks or milestones) can make it easier for you to keep track of what needs to be done – and you’ll feel one step closer to the end goal every time you tick an item off your list.

The easiest way to keep track of every part of a project from start to finish? By using dedicated task management software, such as Ayoa. Not only can you keep everything you need to do in one place, but you can split your projects into more manageable tasks or checklists, then set due dates (and reminders) for each one. If you’re working in a team, you can also delegate tasks to others and keep track of their progress. That project doesn’t seem so big and overwhelming now, does it?

Being the new person in the office

No matter how old you are or how many years of experience you have under your belt, being the new person in the office can be daunting. But despite what Stephen King would have you believe, moving to a new place doesn’t have to end in horror. After all, being the new kid on the block is something we all go through at least once in our working lives. It’s an experience that everyone will understand and be able to relate to.

To get off to the best start, clarify the dress code and the time you need to arrive on your first day, and when you’re there be as friendly and open as possible – introduce yourself, ask people their names and engage in small talk. Don’t be afraid to ask questions no matter how silly they seem (your new co-workers will, no doubt, have heard them all before), and don’t stress if you can’t remember everyone’s names at first – this will come in time.

Preparing for your performance review

Love them or loathe them, 1-2-1 meetings, appraisals and performance reviews are important for both the employer and their employees. They give the employer a chance to gain insightful feedback on how they’re doing things and find out what they can do to make their workforce happier. For employees, it gives them a chance to take charge of their progression and possibly take them one more step up the career ladder. With so much to win, it’s no wonder so many people worry about these meetings!

Remember, performance reviews are beneficial whether you get that promotion or not. If you don’t, then you’ll find out what you need to do to make sure you smash it next time. With that in mind, make sure you come prepared with the development plans that were set in your last review so you can compare how far you’ve progressed since then. Pair this with a list of your achievements, goals you’re planning to accomplish and plans for further development and you’ll be on the right track to get the most out of your performance review – the key is being proactive, not reactive.

Sending an email to the wrong person

Whether you’re sending a big batch of emails in quick succession or hastily typing one up and pressing ‘send’ seconds before you head out the door, it’s easy to send an email to the wrong person. Too easy. The good news? Microsoft Outlook, Gmail and many other email providers have the functionality to allow you to ‘undo send’ or ‘recall’ an email. The bad news? You need to move fast and it doesn’t always work.

If it’s a personal email, the first thing we’ll tell you is this; stop sending personal emails at work; you’ve only got yourself to blame! Then we’ll tell you that the best thing to do is to own up to it and apologize. Now, all you can do is make sure you don’t do it again next time. Make it routine to always check the email address before sending and don’t start typing up an important email moments before you have somewhere else to be. It’s better to be safe than sorry!

Unlike paranormal activity, most workplace scares can be banished by being organized! With Ayoa, our Mind Mapping and Task Management software, you can manage multiple projects, tasks and deadlines with ease, brainstorm great ideas and encourage others to collaborate with you on work. Discover more about Ayoa or sign up for free.

Louise Cunnah

Louise Cunnah has always had a passion for the written word, leading to her studying English, Media and Journalism at Cardiff Metropolitan University. Since graduating in 2014, she has held a number of different roles in marketing, both agency-side and in-house for brands like Ayoa. She loves taking on a challenge and has written content on a diverse range of subjects over the years, including horticulture, business management, telecommunications, health and safety, productivity, neurodiversity, and personal finance (to name but a few!).

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