Being a professional means so much more than just showing up to work each day and doing your job. Working in an office, coworking space, cubicle, etc., puts you in a close proximity to other people on a daily basis, so it is extremely important to be courteous and respectful to the people you share your work space with. Practicing courteous behaviors will determine the type of workplace environment you spend your day to day in. And of course- the less tension in the workplace, the less stress on YOU! Here are some tips, thanks to Emily Post’s “Etiquette”, to help you brush up on the oh-so-relevant workplace etiquette.
Working in a small cubicle or a shared space can be a recipe for distraction and lack of privacy right? Wrong! No matter how compact the shared workplace is, every worker deserves to have their time and space respected. Be courteous with the volume of your voice, and ask permission before impeding on someone’s time and space. Is your space noisy, distracting, and unprofessional at times? Lead by example! Others will follow in your footsteps.
Here are 3 tips to help garner office-wide respect for one another’s privacy, time, and space:
- Discourage coworkers (politely) from hanging around and/or socializing around your desk. A polite “Would you mind taking your conversation elsewhere? I’m working on something difficult and really need to concentrate.” should suffice!
- If you are meeting with visitors, refrain from doing so in the main office. Hold meetings in either a common area or a conference room so you don’t disturb your neighbors.
- Be discreet in the workplace! Nobody likes a gossip. When it comes to confidential matters, discuss those privately so they do not become office gossip.
So, just how important is etiquette at work? Very! According to a survey on theLadders.com, 67% of executives said they would fire an employee for bad manners. Some of the top reasons found were:
- Bad language – This is a no-brainer. A foul mouth is unprofessional, distracting, and can be offensive to some ears!
- Excessive workplace gossip – Yes, it is inevitable- and nearly unavoidable as listening to gossip makes you a participant, even if you aren’t the one spreading it. What can you do? If the gossip pertains to you, find the source immediately and explain to them that it is untrue and you want it stopped. Talk with concern, not with attitude, and keep talk of your personal life to a minimum to avoid future rumors. Not about you? Politely refuse to listen, or excuse yourself altogether.
- Drinking on the job – Even if your employer offers times where drinking is okay, there are still rules to follow. You aren’t living in an episode of “Mad Men”, where whiskey is constantly in a glass glued to your hand. Be responsible and remain professional when it comes to accepting drinks during business hours. And if drinking is not allowed in your office- just wait until 5 o’clock rolls around and don’t risk your job over it.
- Leaving the office without explanation – It’s really quite simple- if you’re leaving, make sure it is okay with your superior, provide an explanation, and if possible give them notice (understandably in the case of an emergency that just isn’t possible).
- Too many personal calls – You’re sitting at your desk, working on your latest project and trying really hard to concentrate, yet so-and-so to your right is on a call, complaining super loudly to a friend about her significant other. Irritating, inconsiderate, rude, and unprofessional. Don’t be that person. Take your private calls into the hallway or common areas to avoid disturbing your coworkers who are hard at work.
It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of a busy day in the office, or to fall into a routine and become complacent with common courtesies. Regardless, they do matter and they do impact the environment you work in and the relationships you have with your coworkers. Next time you come into the office, make it a point to be polite and courteous to those around you.