How To Use Office Etiquette

Etiquette refers to the conventional requirements of social behavior. Or in more simple terms, it means knowing how to act. Different situations require different types of etiquette. Knowing how to behave in an office is important if you want to set a good example. Those who follow good office etiquette are promoted and given choice assignments. Those who are seen as crass or unkempt are passed over or have their employment terminated. What follows are some office etiquette tips:

  1. Though casual dress is more acceptable nowadays, an employee still must look neat. In addition to wearing clean, pressed, "business casual" clothes, one should also be well-groomed.  If you're meeting with a client, dress appropriately. In most cases, this means a suit.

  2. If you will be eating at your desk, make sure you're not disruptive to others. Foods such as fish or onions emit powerful odors which can distract others and make them feel uncomfortable. In addition, watch noises such as loud chewing and swallowing, crunching and smacking lips.
  3. If you're surrounded by others, do try and keep noise to a minimum. Phone calls, especially those of a personal nature, should be handled with a low voice. Never use the speaker phone feature unless others are involved in the conversation. If music is allowed, listen to it at low volume, but avoid the use of a headset as it can keep you from hearing when you're needed by others. When having discussions with other workers, please keep it down so others around you won't get distracted.
  4. Avoid taking part in office gossip. No good ever comes from gossip and it only hurts others. If you're seen as someone who is constantly meeting at the water cooler to discuss others, it will look as if you don't have your priorities in order. In addition, your superiors will think twice about sharing confidential information with you.
  5. Be conscious of the time. Don't make a habit of being tardy or calling in sick. Do your best to meet deadlines in a timely manner and don't keep others waiting for you.
  6. Always be on time and behave appropriately at team meetings. Don't dominate the conversation unless absolutely necessary. Don't interrupt and be sure to give everyone a chance to speak. Don't eat and be sure to turn off cell phones and pagers.
  7. Don't "borrow" from others in the office without their knowledge. Don't remove staplers and other items from desks without permission and don't log onto another person's computer unless you've been given the "ok."
  8. Be mindful of your behavior. You wouldn't behave the same way in the office as you would in less professional settings. Always be on your best professional behavior.
  9. Show respect to those around you. Be a good listener and don't interrupt. Don't talk about others behind their backs or use foul language.
  10. Don't be a whiner. No one wants to be around someone who complains all the time. You won't be seen as a team player and your employer is less likely to promote you or give you key projects because of your negativity.
  11. Avoid an office romance. It's distracting to you and those around you.
  12. Always answer your phone on the second or third ring. Be pleasant to the other party. Never leave anyone on hold for long periods of time without permission.


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