AnnaMarie Houlis via Fairygodboss
You probably know what you shouldn’t be saying at work in front of your colleagues and managers. You know — the PG-13 and R-rated conversations you should really leave for outside of the office, as they’re just not appropriate. But do you know what you should be saying more of?
There are phrases that you can use to help you get ahead in the workplace, make stronger connections with colleagues and build boundaries to support your overall mental health and, as a result, your work performance.
Start using these nine phrases a lot more at work, for example, and you are sure to see a positive change in your output and happiness.
1. “Can we grab coffee sometime next week? I can find time on our calendars!”
It’s important to put time into building relationships with your coworkers. A wealth of research shows that having strong relationships with your coworkers (and even finding your work wife!) can help you to do better work. Plus, you’ll have ever more advocates and supporters in the workplace.
2. “I’d love to meet with you. I do have a hard stop at [X time].”
While having face-to-face meetings with colleagues and clients is hugely helpful for establishing rapport, building trust and collaborating together, meetings can tend to go overtime when you’re in person. It’s important to have respect for each other’s time and set boundaries.
No is a complete sentence, and it’s about time you get comfortable saying it. Setting personal boundaries and sticking to them is key. After all, no one else will respect you and your time if you don’t.
4. “I am taking a personal day tomorrow to focus on self-care. I appreciate your understanding.”
You need self-care days at times, and you shouldn’t have any shame surrounding that need. Just because you’re not sneezing your head off doesn’t mean that you can’t take a day off. Your mental health is just as important as your physical health, and you need to look after it.
5. “I worked very hard on this project, and I am proud to see how well it’s performed.”
Studies show that women don’t take credit for their work nearly as much as they should. So step up and own your hard work. Be proud of it, and don’t be afraid to share that pride.
6. “I won’t be responding to emails while I’m on vacation, but you can reach out to my colleague [X] who will be stepping in for me.”
If you’re taking time off, take time off. Do your best to unplug. And make sure to let your colleagues and clients know that you’re doing just that. Ask a colleague to help you handle any urgent concerns while you’re away so that you can actually take the days you need to recharge.
7. “Hey, can you give me a hand with this?”
Asking for help can feel uncomfortable. No one likes feeling incompetent — especially when whatever you need help with is part of your job. But it’s important to be able to ask for help in order to learn and grow. Besides, there are tons of ways to ask for help that won’t make you look bad!
8. “I’ve come up with a plan for how we can handle this more efficiently. Do you have some time for me to tell you about it?”
If something isn’t working well, propose a way to fix it. Don’t just complain; do something to make a positive change. Your idea might not be accepted but, at the very least, it’ll inspire some sort of change in the office and get the ball rolling.
9. “Do you have time to chat about my work performance so far? I want to make sure we’re on the same page.”
It’s always a great idea to schedule regular check-ins with your manager to talk about how you’re performing. Receiving positive affirmation can be really helpful for you — as can constructive criticism on what you can be doing better, faster, more efficiently, etc. Checking in can be especially important if you’re just starting a new job!
A version of this post previously appeared on Fairygodboss, the largest career community that helps women get the inside scoop on pay, corporate culture, benefits and work flexibility. Founded in 2015, Fairygodboss offers company ratings, job listings, discussion boards and career advice.
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In your opinion, which phrases should people start saying at work ASAP? We want to hear from you. Share your thoughts in the comments or join the conversation on Twitter.
AnnaMarie Houlis is a feminist, a freelance journalist and an adventure aficionado with an affinity for impulsive solo travel. She spends her days writing about women’s empowerment from around the world. You can follow her work on her blog, HerReport.org, and follow her journeys on Instagram @her_report, Twitter @herreport and Facebook.