60 Tips to Improve Etiquettes in the Office

Effective office etiquette can help transform a company culture and can even result in the difference between business success and business failure.

In recognition of National Business Etiquette Week, Small Business Trends has compiled a list of 50 amazing office etiquette tips to transform your company culture.

Workplace Etiquette: The Don’ts
  • Don’t “Reply All” to an email chain. …
  • Don’t have personal conversations at your desk. …
  • Don’t bring your emotions into the office. …
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions. …
  • Don’t gossip about fellow coworkers…or your boss. …
  • Don’t use emojis or multiple exclamation points (if any) in work emails.

Office Etiquette 101 DOs and DON’Ts

Why is it important to demonstrate proper etiquette at work?

Showing respect, practicing good manners and demonstrating other etiquette at work is extremely important for showing both your coworkers and supervisors that you take your job seriously. Demonstrating proper office etiquette also highlights your eagerness and motivation for your work, which can impress your employer.

Tips for office etiquette

Use the following tips to help you improve on and develop your office etiquette:

1. Limit unnecessary noise

Especially in open office spaces, loud conversation and noise can be disruptive to your coworkers who may be trying to focus on their work.

2. Avoid taking personal calls at work

Unless its an emergency, its best to avoid taking personal calls in the office.

3. Set your personal phone to silent

Keep your cell phone on silent when youre at work so notifications arent disruptive.

4. Answer messages promptly

Be punctual in your responses. For instance, if a coworker emails you asking you a question, respond as soon as possible.

5. Show respect to colleagues and supervisors

Both your colleagues and your superiors deserve your respect. For example, hold the door open for your manager and always say “please” and “thank you.”

6. Listen actively when others are speaking

Avoid interrupting when others are talking and demonstrate active listening techniques like maintaining eye contact and asking questions when its appropriate.

7. Communicate with intent

Think about your responses when your coworkers or supervisors address you or ask you a question. Ensure your tone is positive, even during stressful moments.

8. Be polite to others in the office

Be polite in the office by maintaining a cheerful attitude and helping others.

9. Be aware of your body language

Smile often, approach others in a friendly manner and sit with proper posture at your desk and during meetings.

10. Take interest in your colleagues

Show your colleagues you care by listening to their ideas, interests and feelings. For instance, if your coworker comes back to work after a long vacation, show interest by welcoming them back and asking how they enjoyed their time off.

11. Share your interests and ideas

Share ideas and interests you have that can help motivate others or influence a positive atmosphere in the workplace. For instance, if you spent your weekend at a museum for technology and one of the exhibits gave you an idea you could implement at work, that could be something you share with your colleagues.

12. Be accepting of others opinions

When your colleagues share their opinions and ideas during team meetings or when developing projects, be open-minded and accepting of what they share.

13. Listen to feedback

If your supervisor or manager provides you with constructive feedback for improvement, use their advice. Apply any feedback you receive to developing your skills and boosting your overall performance in the workplace.

14. Give credit when its due

Showcase your colleagues efforts along with your own when completing projects and work assignments. If its a team effort, the whole team deserves recognition.

15. Provide support to your team

Be supportive and offer help when your coworkers need it. For instance, if someone on your team has to complete a project task by a specific deadline and theyre a bit behind, offer your assistance to help them achieve their objectives on time.

16. Offer to mentor new employees

If youve been with your company for some time, offer to be a mentor for new employees and interns that visit. Similarly, offer to help with training, orientation and introducing new employees to your colleagues and others in the office.

17. Always arrive to work on time

Its important to get to work on time, every time. Unless you have an emergency, plan on arriving to work at least five minutes before you have to clock in.

18. Give enough notice when you take days off

If you know youre going to be out for personal reasons (like a planned vacation), make sure you give your employer enough notice.

19. Leave personal problems at home

Avoid being emotional at work or focusing on personal problems during the workday. Sometimes it can be challenging, however, the workplace isnt the appropriate setting to discuss your personal affairs.

20. Give praise and encouragement

Offer your encouragement to your coworkers and new teammates. If a colleague completes a project that far exceeds expectations, give them the recognition they deserve and praise their work.

21. Keep your workspace clean

This is especially important in shared and open workspaces where employees may share many of the desks and work areas in the office. Even if you have a desk to yourself, keeping it clean and neat can help you keep better track of your day-to-day activities.

22. Help keep communal areas tidy

Office kitchens, the copy room and other communal spaces in the workplace need to be tidy and clean, just like your personal space. For instance, if you have a shared kitchen space, keep it clean by washing your dishes and keeping your food items in their own space.

23. Avoid strong-smelling foods in open areas

Some foods have extremely strong odors that can linger even after lunch is done. If you work in an open setting or shared area, try to avoid bringing in foods that can be smelly or irritating to others.

24. Use appropriate communication channels

If your employer prefers quick communications via email, use your work email in these circumstances.

25. Practice good hygiene habits

Arrive to work clean in fresh attire. For instance, if you usually work out at the gym before coming to the office, make sure you have fresh clothing to change into and that you smell clean.

26. Avoid personal grooming at work

While its important to maintain good hygiene at work, its usually not appropriate to brush your hair, brush your teeth or complete any other personal grooming measure when youre at work.

27. Be aware of odors

This relates to your hygiene, however, its important to be aware of your body odor throughout the day. If you have to, keep a deodorant with you so you can reapply it in the bathroom if you need to.

28. Keep work relationships professional

Its important to be friendly, outgoing and accepting of everyone in the office, however, its also important to maintain professionalism in the relationships you build at work.

29. Avoid coming to work if youre sick

Even if youre only feeling a little unwell, its important to avoid spreading germs at the office.

30. Respect your colleagues space

This is extremely important in open and shared office spaces, however, its important no matter your work environment. Be mindful of others belongings and avoid encroaching on others desk space with your work.

31. Give your colleagues room to work

When you see your colleagues are highly focused on their work, avoid interrupting or distracting them. If you need their input, agree on a convenient time when theyre not as busy.

32. Limit conversations that are unrelated to work

While its polite to ask after your colleagues weekends or how their holiday vacation went, its important to limit conversation topics that are unrelated to work.

33. Learn your coworkers names

Commit to remember everyones names in the office with whom you interact. If a colleague prefers you use a specific nickname or another name, respect their request and do so.

34. Treat others fairly and equally

No matter their seniority, your coworkers still deserve for you to treat them equally and fairly.

35. Avoid using social media at work

Social media is not only unrelated to work, some workplaces specifically forbid the use of social media at the office, so its best to avoid it completely during the workday.

36. Avoid gossip

Avoid getting into conversations where there are rumors or disrespectful banter.

37. Ask for help when you need it

Its important to understand when you need extra support, so dont be afraid to ask questions or for some assistance if you need it.

38. Come to work with a positive attitude

Staying positive at work can help boost your mood and can also help improve your colleagues morale.

39. Practice good manners

Shake hands with visitors and new employees, hold doors open for others and always greet others when you see them.

40. Address others in the office

Greet your colleagues, superiors and other staff members when you arrive to work and let them know when youre leaving for the day.

41. Keep open communication with others

Be honest when speaking with others and encourage others to share ideas, ask questions and request feedback.

42. Use appropriate language

Avoid profanity in the office and your communications. Likewise, use professional language when sending work emails and messages.

43. Wear appropriate attire to work

If your organization has a dress code, follow it. Otherwise, maintain professional attire in the office.

44. Help motivate others

Keep your teammates motivated with you by using positive praise, acknowledging quality work and helping coworkers get excited about their work.

45. Set professional goals

Attend seminars and workshops to develop your skills and advance in your career.

46. Avoid the “reply to all” button

Unless its a company-wide announcement, avoid replying to all of your coworkers when responding to emails.

47. Be courteous in your interactions

Always be mindful of others feelings in your office interactions.

48. Avoid complaining about your job

Even if youre having a stressful day, its important to keep complaints to yourself.

49. Apologize for and correct mistakes

If youve made an error, accept responsibility, apologize if necessary and take steps to correct and learn from your mistake.

50. Use conflict resolution techniques

Practice effective conflict resolution if you have a disagreement or stressful moment in the workplace.

51. Be respectful of others time

Check with others schedules before scheduling meetings and be aware of interrupting others during their break and lunchtimes.

52. Avoid using your work computer for personal matters

If you use a work computer, avoid sending and receiving your personal messages on it.

53. Knock before entering others offices

This lets others know that you need to speak with them and gives them time to prepare their space for your entry.

54. Stand up during introductions

When meeting someone in the office for the first time, its important to stand up if you are sitting so you can shake their hand, make eye contact and greet each other.

55. Be respectful of your office equipment

If you use office equipment that you can take home with you, ensure you return it to work in the condition you took it home in.

56. Be prepared for meetings

Have a pen and notepad with you at all meetings and be prepared to listen and share ideas.

57. Leave office property at work

Many items and supplies in the office are only for office use. Avoid taking home any office materials if your organization doesnt allow it.

58. Avoid getting involved in workplace politics

This can lead to gossip or even conflict in the workplace, which can affect how you perform your job.

59. Avoid after-hours communication

Even if you decide to work some extra hours in the evenings or on weekends, remember that not all your teammates are doing the same.

60. Replace supplies if you are the last to use them

If you use up the last of the copy paper, for instance, make sure you replenish the supply.

FAQ

What are 5 examples of professional etiquette?

21 Business Etiquette Rules You Should Never Break
  • Pay attention to names. …
  • Greet everyone. …
  • Offer a handshake and make eye contact. …
  • Give cues that show you’re paying attention. …
  • Introduce others. …
  • Send customized, handwritten Thank You notes. …
  • Proofread emails for grammar and typo mistakes.

How do you maintain office etiquette?

5 Workplace Etiquette Tips Every Professional Should Know
  • Make a Good First Impression. …
  • Avoid Gossip. …
  • Communication is Key. …
  • Understand your Work Environment. …
  • Be Personable Yet Professional.

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