Practicing Proper Etiquette on the Job
Avoiding Poor Office Etiquette Helps New Hires Gain Acceptance by Colleagues
Regardless of the industry or the specific type of work, there will always be times when people find themselves in the position of starting a new job. Whether they are entering the workforce for the first time or transitioning from one employer to another, any new-job situation can elicit emotions ranging from exhilaration to nervousness, with the latter often resulting from uncertainties about the job itself and/or in meeting new colleagues.
What may not be top-of-mind for the new hire is the fact that their new colleagues may also have some reservations about their recently-added teammate – how will he or she compare to the person who previously held that job and how will they ‘fit’ with the rest of the team? While some current staff members will make an effort to help newcomers feel welcome within the team/department/company, it is incumbent upon all parties to facilitate the integration process by demonstrating behaviours appropriate for an office setting – in other words, practicing proper office etiquette.
It is important to note that proper office etiquette should not be reserved for/limited to a formal office environment only – such behaviour should be common practice regardless of the setting, including but not limited to:
- Sales floors
- Call centres
- Service desks
With this definition in mind, the following guidelines for appropriate office manners are presented to aid new hires as they enter into a new or transitional work environment:
10 Ways to Practice Proper Office Etiquette
- Be punctual – for meetings, appointments, and reporting for work in general
- Be courteous – make liberal use of hello, please, thank you, you’re welcome
- Speak at normal volume and in an appropriate tone (avoids being disruptive)
- Practice suitable hygiene and proper grooming habits – always be presentable
- Respect your colleagues – discuss any sensitive or personal matters in private
- Respect personal property – ask rather than assume that it is okay to borrow
- Respect the job – keep personal work space and common areas neat/clean
- Eat meals/take breaks in designated areas (and dispose of trash accordingly)
- Avoid checking/replying to personal messages during meetings or discussions
- Recognize and celebrate the successes/milestones of others in a genuine way
12 Unsuitable Behaviours to Avoid At All Times
- Use of foul language
- Telling off-colour or discriminatory jokes
- Making explicit sexual comments or gestures
- Intentional sexual innuendos/double-entendres
- Wearing overly strong or pungent cologne or perfume
- Wearing revealing or improper attire (offensive slogans)
- Interrupting others without concern for their time/priorities
- Engaging in confrontations/heated discussions in open areas
- Engaging in discussions of a sensitive or controversial nature
- Using speaker phones in open areas and/or non-discreet settings
For individuals entering a new work setting, it can be sufficiently challenging to just learn how to do the job itself, let alone the various products and/or services that fall within its scope of responsibilities. Learning to work with new team members and supervision can add another layer of complexity, and new hires may often ‘try too hard to fit in” with the group. Despite their best intentions, displaying unsuitable office etiquette, in either an inadvertent or careless manner, will have a detrimental influence on the extent to which they are ultimately accepted by their new colleagues.
Observing and Practicing Proper Office Manners Provides Several Benefits
All employees, whether newly-hired or long-tenured, should be acutely aware that some inappropriate behaviour may result in disciplinary action or outright loss of employment. Setting aside, but certainly not dismissing, the fundamental importance of respect for all individuals, there are several tangible and intangible benefits that can be realized from a commitment to observing and practicing proper office manners. These benefits include a positive impact on:
- Sharing knowledge
- Sense of contribution
- Productivity and results
- Overall employee morale
In many instances, particularly for those who are relatively new to the workforce and/or to working in an office or team environment, erring on the side of common sense will go a long way in terms of practicing proper office etiquette. However, there is room for interpretation, and a potential for conflicting opinion, within several behaviours.
Fortunately, there are professional staffing agencies, like Winters Technical Staffing, who can assist in clarifying these so-called gray zones for job seekers with questions on behaviours that may not be acceptable in the workplace. The trained consultants from Winters Technical Staffing have the insight and experience to advise individuals on proper office conduct once these individuals have landed a new job.
Contact Winters Today
For professional advice on proper office etiquette in preparation for entering a new work setting, call the specialists at Winters Technical Staffing today at 1-866-932-5248 to speak with one of our consultants.