Common workplace etiquette you should already be practicing.
5 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 8+ hours day 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. That being said, these five workplace etiquette tips may already be what you are practicing, but it never hurts to have a friendly reminder amongst the hustle and bustle of a busy work day.
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 call 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!
2 | Lunching Versus Crunching | When it comes to eating on the job, we all know that one person in the office who either chews gum really loud or slurps their drinks even when you know it’s almost empty; don’t be that person. Eating a sandwich at your desk is fine, but if you have a large bowl of pasta or something very crunchy, maybe save that for the cafeteria. It may sound insignificant, but hearing someone eat like that every day will get very tiresome and those around you will grow to dread lunchtime when you’re around. At home, you can eat whatever you want and however you want, but at work be conscious about what you bring. If you have time, invite some co-workers out to lunch to switch things up a bit. That way it’s ok if you eat something a little louder and you get to establish more of a rapport with the people you spend the entire work week with. And if, perchance, your food is of the 'smelly' variety (think seafood or other foods that may have a strong or pungent odor), make sure to heat it up with care and maybe take that lunch out to the cafeteria or other open air common area for a bite to eat. Your co-workers will undoubtedly be grateful for this!
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 bea 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. But 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 your 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. Slips 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.
Workplace etiquette isn’t learned over night, 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 8 hours a day together, what will I like about you? The answer is in your hands. Make it a good one.
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