Yum! It’s that very special season between the holidays and Spring: Girl Scout cookie time!
But that sweet taste can quickly turn sour if your co-workers are hounding you to buy, buy, buy so Little Susie makes her quota.
The same applies to band fruit, candy bars, magazines, wrapping paper — it seems every organization is trying to raise money by selling you something. And it’s not only nonprofits. Sometimes individuals take advantage of what seems like a built-in market to hawk their wares at work.
Shopping at the cubicle next door can be a convenience — or a curse. Whether you’re a buyer or a seller, keep these tips in mind to ensure workplace harmony.
- Use your own time and resources. Make fliers at home or the office supply store, not on the company copier. Take care of “customers” during breaks or outside work hours. And for heaven’s sake, don’t use your office computer to set up shop on Ebay. That’s just wrong.
- Coordinate a crafts day. Invite the artists, bakers, knitters and other creative types in your office to set up tables on a designated day in a central location. Pick a theme, such as Valentine’s Day, or organize it around the holiday shopping season.
- Check with the boss. Many workplaces have office solicitation policies. (And before you cry Scrooge, understand there are often good reasons involving the National Labor Relations Board or other regulations.) Ask if it’s OK to offer your goods before hanging out your shingle.
- Be passive, not pushy. Post an order form on your office door, cubicle wall or break room bulletin board if that’s allowed. Let those who are interested come to you. Don’t send blast emails to the department announcing you’re open for business.
- Don’t feel pressured to buy. There are only so many calories you can consume and candles you can burn. If you’ve already promised to buy Boy Scout popcorn from your nephew, don’t feel like to have to double up at work, too.
“Supporting good causes and your co-workers can be a win-win for all,” says Holly Haynes, assistant vice president of employee relations at Colonial Life. “When done with consideration and consistency, it even comes with business benefits, such as better relationships that lead to a more collaborative environment.”
Now, will you please pass the Thin Mints?