Is poor office etiquette causing stress around your workplace? No, we’re not talking about elbows on the table or lack of a napkin on your lap. We’re talking about following basic courtesies toward fellow employees and conducting yourself with class and dignity in the workplace. You and your coworkers are the ambassadors of the business, and how you present yourself – and how you deal with interpersonal relationships in the company– speaks volumes.
Gone are the days, however, when office decorum was distinctly defined. Today’s more relaxed professional atmosphere often makes it difficult to know what’s acceptable and what isn’t. But that doesn’t make it any less important. To ensure a productive and enjoyable workplace, each employee should demonstrate good manners. Here are some tips to help you understand how to conduct yourself in today’s business environment and learn the art of office etiquette.
Tempted to speculate and discuss your coworker’s lives with others? We’ve all been there. And we’ve all been in the room when someone else is doing it. But the answer is simple: Don’t. Gossip says more about you than it does the person you’re talking about, and remember, those you’re gossiping with will gossip about you, too.
Be on Time
Schedule meetings in 45 minute increments – no less. This will allow enough time to get to from one to another. Being late is just rude, but neither should you be any more than five minutes early.
Mind Your Phone Manners
Put your cell phone on vibrate mode and don’t answer a personal text or call if it comes in during a meeting or presentation. When responding to personal or business calls, keep your voice lower to keep from interfering with others’ work. Loud phone conversations can distract coworkers. Don’t use speaker phone unless absolutely necessary.
Whether in meetings, on a business call, or talking face-to-face with a coworker, pay attention to what’s being said. Look people in the eye, repeat things back to the person talking to be sure you understand correctly, don’t look at your phone, don’t look at the girl that just walked into the room, and don’t interrupt.
Be Respectful of Others’ Space
Many workplaces no longer provide private offices or high cubicle walls. But you should act as though those walls are still there. Don’t interrupt others as they work. Instead, send an email to see if someone is available to talk, and announce yourself as you approach another’s workspace. Don’t hold meetings in your cubicle if there will be three or more people. Instead, find an open conference room or break area.
Avoid eating lunch or snacks with an offensive odor in your cubicle. Go to a break room or cafeteria…or outside (and clean up the microwave if you make a mess in it). And above all, do not listen in to the conversations of those around you!
Keep Emails Formal – and During Office Hours
Email may seem casual, but it’s important that you keep all online correspondence professional. Ditch the slang, get your punctuation right, and proofread before you hit the send button. And always respect others’ time. Don’t email late at night, before work hours in the morning, or while anyone is on vacation or during days off. (An early evening email that is simply informative and doesn’t require immediate action is acceptable.)
Take a Sick Day if You’re Sick
This one seems counterintuitive to those of us who think others would rather we carry our own weight than take time off and leave them with our work. But it’s true: Coworkers would rather we not risk their health by coming in sick. If you’re contagious, make use of the workplace benefit of sick days and stay home. No one wants your germs.
Ladies should let others see their skill, not their private body parts. Short skirts and low-cut blouses, long slits and shirts that gape between buttons, and tight pants or skirts are an office no-no. Gentlemen – and ladies – should always wear professional clothing that fit the industry in which they work. Dress in neat, clean, and classy attire.
Of course there are many more ways you can respect your coworkers and act in a manner worthy of your calling. Take responsibility for mistakes, keep your work area tidy, don’t dominate meetings, say please and thank you, etc.
Culver-Newlin knows that workplace etiquette is always easier and the atmosphere more pleasant when employees are comfortable, when they don’t have to sit on hard chairs or deal with tables that are the wrong height, and when they have plenty of space to work and store materials. Visit our website for all of your office furniture needs. Then contact us at 949-288-6739 to order or for more information.