Most of us spend a good part of the day at office and interact a lot more with our colleagues than our family or friends. A friendly atmosphere at the workplace, therefore, can go a long way in keeping the work environment pleasant and productive. Proper office etiquette involves the unwritten rules that you should adhere to in order to ensure a cordial atmosphere at work.
Good understanding of office etiquette offers several benefits. It will:
- Help you gain the support of your colleagues and seniors
- Pave the way for regular promotions and growth
- Ensure smooth interactions with colleagues
- Help you avoid making a career-crippling faux pas or becoming the common object of scorn in the office
- Ensure a congenial, mutually respectful, and enjoyable workplace environment
Office Etiquette—Best Practices
The rules of office etiquette may not always be written down in your employee handbook. However, it encompasses several factors including language, email and cell phone use, punctuality, and interactions with colleagues among others. Below we list the most common etiquette rules that you need to be aware of:
- Be punctual: Arriving late is considered unprofessional in most organizations. If you are a chronic late-comer it will be difficult to gain the respect of your colleagues or the management.
- Follow the predefined dress code: In case there is no such code, dress in a way that commands the respect of all those you interact with, especially your clients.
- Etiquette during meetings: Never arrive late for meetings. Allow the current speaker to finish before presenting your views. Never interject. Always arrive prepared with your presentation, handouts, or stationery to take notes.
- Limit cell phone usage: Keep your cell phone ringer on silent at all times while in office. Switch it off during meetings. Do not talk loudly on the phone, and ideally, take personal calls in an area where you can’t be overheard.
- Respect the privacy of your colleagues: Knock before entering a cabin or cubicle. Avoid reading emails or other private communication over someone’s shoulders. Request their permission before borrowing anything from a colleague’s desk.