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Talking shop at the gym?

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in Business Etiquette,Workplace Communication

With the ever-growing emphasis on workplace wellness and work-life balance, it's becoming more common for employers to have fitness rooms on site or arrangements with nearby gyms. On the one hand, this is a great perk for employees. On the other hand, it means you'll be working out with your employees. Or your boss. It's a whole new venue for office politics and etiquette!

Or, as Los Angeles Times writer Jeannine Stein put it recently, "a minefield of awkward situations, inelegant faux pas and professional claustropho­bia." Obviously, it's a good time to practice proper workout social skills. Wipe down the machines. Don't grunt. eschew those eccentric locker-room rituals. And if you're super-fit, don't gloat or get competitive with those who are less physically accomplished.

Remember that the workout room is usually not the place to talk shop. even if your boss starts a work-related conversation with you, it's Ok to not let it get too involved. For you and for others, gym time is often valuable "quiet time." Don't feel pressured to focus on other matters. At the same time, don't ignore people you work with; this is a time to get at least a small perspective on them as people, rather than as employees or colleagues or bosses. And vice versa—if you're the boss, it can be useful to let your people know you sweat like everyone else.

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