In an office, there’s one person you really do not want to offend or, at the very least, you do not want to be rude to: The cleaner, the one who maintains the office environment. They have one of the most thankless jobs in the office world. And they also, in some cases, wield the most power. Not because they can fire you or dock your pay. But because they go everywhere, they hear everything, and they see all. If played right, they could be a useful spy. Played wrong, they are your worst enemy.
Generally, the office helper does not have a “chatty” relationship with the other employees. It is not that type of position. And most helpers are excellent at maintaining professionalism, the least of which is to say nothing despite what they observe or don’t observe. However, the exceptions always exist. They are the ones that can start rumours, gather evidence, plant evidence, and make your office life miserable.
Of course, you do not have to be friends with the helper. But being polite is always good. A quick greeting, a friendly word or two, and a short conversation of nothing but the weather or general topics, are all ways to stay on the helper’s good side. Not a lot of work. No effort, either.
Contrast two examples: Cleaner 1 is rather distant, and is not known for their social skills. In fact, Cleaner 1 is known to be a friend of the HR manager. So, naturally, all colleagues are wary; they fend off Cleaner 1 and keep their distance. For good reason other than because Cleaner 1 and the HR manager are best friends. The main reason is the rumour-mongering that Cleaner 1 apparently does. True or not? Does it matter? That is the impression given. Rather than be confrontational and unbalance the office peace, colleagues would rather avoid, evade and ignore. Not the best way to deal with rumour-mondering types, but in an office environment, an ideal method.
Cleaner 2 is quite the socialite. They are known to be helpful and genuine; no ulterior motives. They are only known as another employee, and though they see and hear all, they keep it to themselves and say nothing. The impression given is one of a hardworking professional who only wants to do the job and go home. No politics, no rumours, nothing that would jeopardise anyone in any way, small or big. Ergo, colleagues do not avoid Cleaner 2. Instead, all are friends and can converse without fear of betrayal. Ideal for the office; ideal for life.
Neither type of helper requires a lot of effort. But sometimes, a little more wariness mixed in with the friendly attitude is warranted. However, that goes for everyone, does it not?
Hmm… quite the character study, yes?