Common Workplace Etiquette You Should Already Be Practicing
Common Workplace Etiquette Examples You Should Already Be Practicing
Your office may be your second home, but it’s also the second home to your many co-workers and associates. Spending eight hours a day or more with a group of people is tough, but it’s even tougher when some don’t even follow common workplace etiquette. Being mindful of your surroundings and how your workplace behavior may affect others will either make you the employee everyone gets along with or the one they fear when they see you walk in. Like having guests in your home, you want them to enjoy your company.
Workplace Etiquette Examples to Practice
Workplace etiquette is key to having good workplace relationships. It will help you fit in in the office and help make your time there more pleasant. That being said, here are 10 workplace etiquette tips that may already be what you're practicing, but it never hurts to have a friendly reminder.
1 | Keep Personal Calls Private | When taking a phone call at your desk, unless it’s very brief, it’s polite to leave your desk and step into the hall or somewhere quiet. No one wants to hear your weekend plans or where you are going to dinner tonight; that’s distracting and loud for those around you. The same thing goes for business calls as well.
Those tend to go on much longer, so find somewhere secluded to let your co-workers work in peace. Even if the call isn’t on speaker, you can still hear the conversation especially if you work relatively close to others. You don’t have to be completely silent at your desk, but you should be aware of how much noise simple actions produce. If your role happens to be very phone intensive, and you know you're a loud-talker, maybe bring this up with your direct report before it becomes a point of contention with co-workers, and see if they can accommodate your seating with (perhaps) a more private environment. They may even thank you for it!
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2 | Leave Fragrances at Home | Not everyone has the same sense of smell. Perfumes and colognes are great ways to dress up an outfit and feel refreshed, but when it comes to smelling good at work, it's best to avoid spritzing it on. Some people have sensitivities to some smells. Some people are even allergic. It's best to use good old soap and leave the sweet-smelling stuff for when you're on your own time.
The same can be said about candles or other smelling things you put on your desk or around your work area, be mindful that others might not like it. It's best to check with them first.
3 | Not Everyone Likes The Same Music | When listening to music with headphones at work, check to make sure you aren’t blasting it as loud as it can go. Even in your ear, headphones can produce a lot of sound that even people a few desks over can hear. If you work in a much more secluded section of your office this won’t be a problem, so continue to jam out… within reason.
Try to keep it lower or even have one headphone in so people can still approach you and you can hear them if your attention is needed urgently (you don't want your boss elevating their voice at you, thinking that you're ignoring them). If you are always closed off in iTunes land, people may form an opinion of you that you aren’t friendly or approachable. And finally, if you like to sing along to songs, wait till you are in your car or your shower to let loose with your version of American Idol,... you may be a rockstar employee in your job, but remember that the office isn't that kind of stage!
4 | Don’t Come to Work Sick | Growing up my mother would always teach me the value of a strong work ethic. She would say even if you are sick, never take a day off and power through it. In today's modern, health-conscious workplace, that’s not really the case. It’s almost preferred that you stay home if you are sick, and many bosses are understanding and can offer a work-from-home option for that duration as well.
Even if you can’t work from home, it pays off in the end to take those days off and come back without the risk of being contagious and ready to work again. With so many viral infections, types of flu, and strains of the common cold out there, it’s simply not worth exposing everyone else in your closed office environment to a sickness and possibly wiping out your other co-workers. A boss would rather have one sick employee than the entire office out for the week. Just because you aren’t working while you're sick doesn’t mean you are lazy, it means you are considerate of your fellow employees. So punch that PTO and take a breather when you're sick. It's the right call.
5 | Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself (Over Email) | There is no worse feeling when you hit "reply all" on an email that was supposed to go to one person, that you all of a sudden realize could also land you in hot water, depending on who reads it. There have been plenty of instances when an inappropriate conversation was being had or sensitive information was being discussed and then the whole office was able to see it due to a mis-directed send or careless click of a button in your email application.
Mistakes like this reflect poorly on your character, put information at risk, and could lead to others getting in trouble or individuals even getting fired. When replying to an email or forwarding it on, always see who was CC’d or attached to the email. Only they or other authorized employees are supposed to see the contents. If one of your co-workers starts talking poorly about the company or complaining, end the conversation or ignore it.
You don’t want to be associated with this type of negativity if and when something comes out about these 'toxic' email threads, so it’s best to take the high road when your job could be on the line. And lastly, when it comes to engaging on your mobile device, but extra careful who you send an email to, especially if you have multiple email accounts running on your smartphone. You don't want to accidentally send a grocery list to your boss, or relay a heavily charged memo to your significant other. Bottom line, use discretion and caution at all times and double-check before clicking the send button.
6 | Avoid Multitasking at Work | Working hard is always commendable, but it can become too much of a good thing. Overly multitasking can be detrimental to your productivity and distracting to your colleagues. Instead of having a loud phone conversation while you type loudly on your computer, practice mindful multitasking instead.
If you can do two actions with the same tool, then you’ll be more efficient than trying to juggle two unrelated tasks. Focus on organizing your day by a priority list, and strive to always get the top 3 done no matter what. This leaves you more room at the end of the day to tie up loose ends, as well as avoid focusing on smaller tasks that aren’t as important to your goals.
7 | Take Care of Your Stress Outside of the Workplace | Healthy ways to cope with stress are key to keeping your cool at the office. The best thing you can do is look for highly impactful ways to rest and rejuvenate, like visiting a Westgate resort with a spa.
Whether your stress comes from work or outside sources, give yourself opportunities to unwind and release pent-up frustration. When you do go back into the office, you’ll feel ten times calmer and more capable of handling anything work throws your way.
You may decide to take a staycation during a weekend off or incorporate fitness into your daily routine. Simple practices like journaling, yoga, meditation, and crafting can have a major influence on how you feel throughout the week.
Sometimes, though, you need a bit more TLC to truly relax. In that case, why not sign up for a massage, take a dip in a hot tub, or let yourself indulge in some personalized spa treatments?
8 | Be Mindful of What You Eat | Eating on the job can be a major source of contention in the workplace. If you have a crunchy lunch, it’s best to eat it outdoors or away from others. And if you’re having a snack mid-day, opt for food that doesn’t produce a lot of noise while you eat.
The same etiquette applies to food with strong aromas; not everyone will love to smell your lunch, so consider how your menu may affect others before you take those leftovers to the office.
If you consider yourself a foodie who looks forward to workplace lunches every day, why not invite some of your coworkers out to a Westgate restaurant? You can get to know each other better and enjoy amazing food in a refreshing atmosphere away from your desk.
9 | Network With People Outside of Your Department | It pays to be polite! Getting to know other people in your company is not only good manners, but it can also help you expand your career options.
Don’t hesitate to introduce yourself to new faces, even if you aren’t part of the same team. A simple “hello” in the elevator can lead to incredible things! You never know who you'll meet and what career your journey in life can take. Networking with people outside of your department opens up a lot of doors for you and might lead you to a new role you never knew existed or that you never knew you wanted.
10 | Practice Good Communication Skills | When someone speaks, make sure you give them your full attention. Offering respect to others usually has a domino effect. Avoid cutting people off during conversations or giving unsolicited advice.
When people speak to you, avoid distractions. Turn toward them, make eye contact and smile. You can also repeat what you’ve heard back to them before responding. This helps prevent misunderstandings.
Simple strategies like these can help foster greater teamwork and positive relations. Workplace etiquette can take time to master, but even a small effort can make a big impact.
Final Workplace Etiquette Tips You Should Always Practice
Workplace etiquette isn’t learned overnight, I personally didn’t even work in an office until a year and a half ago so I had to catch up on my habits and the way I presented myself. Treating others as you’d want to be treated yourself is a golden rule for a reason; it’s something that will forever stand the test of time between interactions with others. Is this music too loud? Should I say that in this email or say it at all? I don’t feel good, should I come into work? If you must think twice about something, it’s best to not do it.
Take time in your day to think about how you present yourself at work and how your habits may affect others, it costs nothing to be considerate and people will like to work with you. And remember to live by the answer to this golden question: If we spend eight hours a day together, what will I like about you? The answer is in your hands. Make it a good one. For more career tips, visit our Westgate Blog.
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