Round the Office Chats

by Jun 14, 2019

I’m finding it more and more difficult to end conversations with colleagues these days. Why? Because conversations, and I mean physical in person conversations, are becoming obsolete in the workplace. So when it comes time to have a chat I often find it difficult to move on without feeling like I am being rude.   

I get it, we live in an era of open plan offices, where the idea is we work more collaboratively, but really everyone has their own priorities. The busier and busier we get, the more colleagues put on the headphones and duck their heads when they see you (or maybe just me) coming. However, sometimes a quick stop by the desk can save hours of back and forth in emails.   

So how do we overcome this new era workplace issue? Like all issues that need to be overcome, we strategize with gifs. 

Here are my four steps to leaving a conversation with the information you need, and your office relationship still in-tact.    


Enter the conversation with a goal

If you want to ask your colleague a question, ask the question and no more.

questioning doggo

If you need documents to support your question send them an email first, noting you are going to pop by their desk. That way when you arrive, they will be ready to supply you with all the information you need.  It’s also a lot less awkward than standing by their desk as they try and sift through their hundreds of files.


Leave your phone on your desk 

Oh no, you’ve gotten side tracked and now you’re talking about this amazing all-important thing that appeared in your Facebook feed. You must forever scroll until you find it! NO, stop. Leave your phone on your desk and stick to your conversation goal. Your office doesn’t really care about the DIY hacks you saw last night.  

man scrolling through phone


Utilise Microsoft Teams or-like office chat

If your conversation is starting to lengthen, but the content is straying into background information and context, or things that aren’t important right this second, it’s time to make use of your office chats. Tell them that you’ll “teams them the link,” and then walk away. You’ve got the relevant information you need, and the context or bigger picture can be reviewed by the both of you when you’ve got the time.

 walk away serious


Stay focused

Making friends at work is never a bad thing, except when maybe you’re talking so much that you’re now off track. You might have just made a new friend, but you both need to get back to the issue at hand. Set up a lunch date or after work drinks to continue your chat outside the office.  

pam and jim



Now you are fully equipped to leave conversations swiftly with the desired information, let’s flip the coin and offer the same support to your colleagues. It’s easy to make yourself more approachable. If you see someone coming and locking eyes with you don’t drop your head, drop the earphones and say hello. It will probably save your inbox and open a new office-ship.   

headphones off

Feature image courtesy of Unsplash

By Michelle Maarhuis

By Michelle Maarhuis

Marketing Consultant

Michelle Maarhuis creatively drives marketing strategies to connect students and employers with UTS Careers.