Work Hard and Play Nice | Business Etiquette


Man drinking from coffeepotWe all want to have respect in the business world, whether it’s from our bosses, our clients or our co-workers.  Without respect, work can be a mightily miserable place.

So here are a few guidelines for basic office etiquette that will make everybody’s day a little bit brighter.

  • Respect the privacy and boundaries of your co-workers. Do not read their email or office memos.
  • Make new employees feel welcome and comfortable.
  • Do not give unsolicited advice. If they want your opinion, they’ll ask for it.
  • Always knock before entering another person’s space.
  • Ask if this is a convenient time to interrupt.  If it is not, schedule a time to talk.
  • Respect the company’s building, furnishings and equipment.
  • Don’t take someone else’s food.
  • If you borrow something, return it quickly.
  • Do not chew gum loudly or pop your gum.
  • Don’t perform personal grooming at your desk.
  • Don’t do childish pranks. This is a place of business.
  • Do not smoke in the office.
  • Do not bring odorous foods to your office.
  • Take a moment to think before you speak.
  • Respect other people’s privacy.
  • Respect a closed door.
  • Clean up after yourself in the break room. If you make a mess, clean it up.
  • Leave your personal drama at home.
  • Wait for your turn in a conversation.
  • Don’t lounge in your office with your feet on the desk. This isn’t your living room.
  • If you use a dish, wash it. Don’t just leave it in the sink.
  • Speak and listen respectively.
  • Support your co-workers.
  • Dress appropriately for the office.
  • Don’t dominate the meeting. Let others speak.
  • Expect, and look for, the best in your peers.
  • Don’t gossip.
  • Send your meeting agenda to all participants 24 hours in advance.
  • Bad business mannersDon’t take the last cup of coffee without making more.
  • Don’t be loud. Other people are trying to work.
  • Show basic courtesies.
  • If you are called to task, remember it is for the good of the company.
  • Hold the door for someone coming after you.
  • Don’t hover if someone is on the telephone. Slip them a note to contact you when they’re done.
  • Respect others’ faith or religion.
  • Be a team player. You’re all working for the good of the company.
  • Don’t wear perfume or strongly-scented aftershave.
  • Be punctual.
  • If you’re sick, try to stay away from others and wash your hands often.
  • Finish your work on time.
  • Share the credit with others.
  • If you want to be taken seriously, leave the cute office decorations at home.
  • Don’t try to sell things to your office companions.
  • Compliment someone. It makes both of you feel good.
  • Keep your work space tidy.
  • Jump in to help if you see a need.
  • Don’t hold long personal conversations.
  • Don’t check email during a meeting. It’s rude and you can’t concentrate on two things at once.
  • Say “please” and “thank you.”
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