Two Smart (and Kind) Reasons to Always Push Your Chair In


Growing up as a child in my parent’s home, my responsibilities were quite clear: at the end of every meal I was expected to ask to be excused from the table, clear my place and push my chair in.

I’m a stickler on this process with my own children—especially the last part. It seems like a very minor detail and one I could easily accomplish on my children’s behalf. I mean, it’s just dinner at our family table, right? Right!

But the small act of pushing your chair in is all about caring and bringing a task to completion.

For me, this act of kindness translates in the work place in a couple of ways: 1) at the conference room table, and 2) at my own desk in my home office.

Pushing my chair in helps me do two important things:

It sets me (and others) up for success.

Do you ever walk into a meeting room to see chairs spread all over the place? Some quite low to the ground, others set as high as they go, some pushed back against the wall, and others facing every which way? When I see this, I often wonder what happened in the last meeting to cause such a furniture disruption!

Leaving a meeting room this way forces the next person to scramble for several minutes to reset the room before the next group arrives. And who wants to start a meeting in a panic with sweat stains? Not me!

Taking a moment to push in all the chairs around the conference table is an act of respect that will ensure a clear and calm close to the existing meeting, and a successful starting point for the next one.

It brings my work day to a close.

As a consultant with a home office, I often feel the magnetic pull of my desk when I’m focused on other things with my family. Or rather, should be focused on my family.

If my workday is cut short by a family distraction, I often quickly get up from my desk to address whatever is happening in the house. And other times, with deadlines and deliverables looming, I have to pop in and out of my office over the course of an evening or weekend to keep work moving.

Shortly after I made the transition from corporate America to my role as a consultant, I received some radical candor from my husband: Just because I work from home doesn’t mean I need to always be working.

There were times I put kids to bed, and then walked directly into my office to see what I’d missed, and what else I could accomplish.

Now, I regularly close the door to my office so it requires a more deliberate act to log back in.

But more recently, I started doing something else. I push my chair in.

I do everything I can to “put a bow” on my work day when I plan to, and this includes pushing my chair in. This small but symbolic act accomplishes two things referenced above. It ensures a planful completion to my current workday, and it sets a cleaner start for when I next resume my work the next morning.

So, the next time you finish a meal, leave a conference room table, or wrap up your workday wherever your desk may be, push your chair in.

How hard was that?

Do you have a favorite remote-working tip or trick? I’d love to hear it! Let us know in the comments or drop me a line at