10 Rules of Workplace Etiquette

Etiquette in the workplace is an area of discussion that is not so black and white. The culture and environment of each company differs from the next. While Google has slides and an open workspace, some offices have rows of gray cubicles and few windows. No matter the layout or atmosphere of your workplace, there are some basic rules for holding your own in the office. Here are ten rules of workplace etiquette that everyone should follow:

  1. Mind your own business. Instead of popping over the top of your cubicle to speak to someone, walk over to have a conversation. Also, do not look into everyone’s workspace as you walk by or interrupt personal conversations. You do not want to be known as the intruder of the office.
  2. Use your cell phone outside. You should try to avoid taking personal phone calls at work, but if you must talk, take your cell phone outside. That way, your co-workers can focus on their tasks without distractions.
  3. Don’t take your phone into meetings. You will be tempted to check any text messages or phone calls during a meeting, which shows that your mind is elsewhere. In order to concentrate on what is being said in the meeting, leave your phone at your desk or in your car.
  4. Casual Friday shouldn’t be too casual. If your workplace has a Casual Friday, be sure your outfit is not too laid back. Short shorts, low-cut tops, spaghetti straps, and hats might be too casual for the office. Check with the human resources department for a Casual Friday dress code.
  5. Avoid strong-smelling foods. If you cannot escape your work area for lunch, try to stay away from foods that have strong odours. Your neighbours will not appreciate smelling spicy or foul-smelling foods for the rest of the day.
  6. Introduce yourself professionally. When a new manager or employee visits the office, shake hands and politely introduce yourself. This shows that you are not completely absorbed by your computer screen and you care about what goes on in the workplace.
  7. Keep the refrigerator clean. If you take lunch to work, label your foods with your name so there is no confusion. Also, if you spill coffee or food in the kitchen, clean it without having to be asked. Tidiness in shared spaces will keep the peace in the workplace.
  8. Use your “inside voice”. When talking to co-workers in the office or to customers on the phone, try not to raise your voice or laugh loudly. Others are trying to get work done and may find it hard to focus if your conversations are boisterous.
  9. Keep decorations to a minimum. Picture frames, college decals, and other decorations are appropriate in your cubicle or work area, but do not go overboard. Be mindful of what your workspace says about you and how others perceive you.
  10. Be professional after hours. Whether it’s the office holiday party or a weekend get-together with co-workers, it is important for you to be classy and keep your dignity. Do not get wasted at a party or gossip about others unless you want the word to spread like wildfire.

If all else fails, remember to treat others the way you want to be treated and pay attention to the way you handle yourself in the office. With these ten basic rules of workplace etiquette, you will be a wonderful co-worker and contributor to the company.

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