Conducting yourself in a professional manner in a working environment is paramount if you want your fellow colleagues to respect you. Aggravating or insulting them, whether intentional or not, can not only cause friction, but could also mean you miss opportunities to progress in your career. Follow our 10 top tips on office etiquette to make sure you’re acting appropriately:
1. Be Careful in Emails
You may think a meme or joke you spotted on the internet at lunchtime was hilarious, but others may not. Don’t send anything that could be considered remotely offensive via emails or instant chat to work colleagues. Your work email is there for work, and should be used solely for that purpose. Equally, it’s important to adhere to a degree of formality in emails. Refrain from using slang words and always remember to structure your email properly.
2. Pipe Down
Be mindful of how loud you are, whether you’re chatting on desk or having a chin wag in the kitchen at lunchtime. An invasive, bellowing laugh or shouting voice are complete no no’s and not only serve as an annoying distraction to others, but can make you come across as rude. Be conscientious of the decibel level the rest of the office is at and respect others who are trying to work.
3. Eating Stinky Food
This isn’t necessarily an offensive act, but it can be thought of an being inconsiderate to others around you. If you’re eating at your desk within close proximity to other people, try to stay away from dishes with strong odours, such as seafood, curry, or blue cheese. If you do decide to have a lunch that gives off a strong smell, consider moving to a kitchen area or canteen, where you won’t be bothering people at their desk.
4. Don’t Discuss Divisive Subjects
There’s a well-known saying that you should “never discuss religion, money, sex, or politics” in the workplace. Each of these topics can be very controversial, with people having varying opinions and beliefs. To avoid offending anyone, or getting yourself into nasty arguments, it’s best to dodge such provocative subjects and steer clear of any conflict.
5. Taking Personal Calls
There might be occasions when you need to take a personal phone call at work, whether it’s an emergency, booking an appointment, or speaking to a friend or family member. Whatever the reason, it’s always best practice to step away from your desk and move into an area where you’ll have some privacy, like a meeting room or corridor. This way, you won’t disturb others who are trying to work.
6. Keep Things Tidy
This is a no-brainer; if you use a coffee cup or plate, wash it up and put it back in the kitchen. If you’ve got rubbish, stick in the bin. It’s all common sense to most people, but you’d be surprised at how many dirty desks strewn with rubbish and mouldy cups there are out there. “A clear space equals a clear mind.”
7. Don’t Get Too Personal
It’s very important that you keep your personal life and your work life separate. Divulging too much information about what’s going on at home to colleagues can paint you in a different light, without you even knowing it. Additionally, you shouldn’t use your co-workers as a means to vent your problems, no one likes a negative Nancy!
8. Be Friendly
Whilst you should aim to maintain a professional demeanour at all times, you also need to balance this with a certain air of informality. Interpersonal skills are vital when working in a team, and having an optimistic, happy demeanour can make you seem more approachable to colleagues. However, try not to chat too much, as this can kill productivity levels!
9. Be on Time
It’s simple, make sure you turn up to work when you’re supposed to and don’t leave early. Furthermore, you should arrive at work with ample time to set yourself up for the day, meaning you shouldn’t just turn up bang-on-the-minute then go into the kitchen to make yourself breakfast. Being punctual is vital, it shows your commitment to the company and respect for the colleagues around you.
10. If You’re Ill, Stay at Home
It’s important to keep away from your workplace if you’re feeling under the weather, particularly if you what you have is contagious. While you might think you’re being selfless and loyal by coming into work, others may resent you if they catch what you have later on. On the other hand, if you’ve got a small case of the sniffles or are feeling a bit lethargic – you need to come in. Don’t take sick days too casually, otherwise you’ll come across as being unreliable.
What are your thoughts on office etiquette? Let us know on Twitter @viking_chat.