General Office Manners

Office Etiquette or Office Manners is about conducting yourself respectfully and courteously in the office or workplace

  • Always act with honesty and dignity
  • Chewing gum and popping bubble gum in the presence of co-workers is neither cool nor dignified .
  • Wear appropriate office attire, for example correct footwear, not thongs (flip flops) – they are strictly casual or beachwear
  • No exposed midriff to display tattoos and body piercing.
  • Be neat, clean and as conservative as the business requires you to be
  • We are put off by smelly people. So, be sure to shower regularly and use a suitable deodorant
  • Do not cough or sneeze in anyone’s direction. Use a tissue, if possible, to contain the germs and then say “Excuse me”
  • The essence of good manners and etiquette is to be respectful and courteous at all times and with everybody
  • Therefore, treat your co-workers, cleaners, maintenance people and others with respect and courtesy
  • Good office etiquette is easily achieved by using common courtesy as a matter of course
  • Keep your interruptions of others to a minimum and always apologise if your intrusion is an interruption of a discussion, someone’s concentration or other activity
  • Show respect for each others workspace. Knock before entering
  • Show appreciation for the slightest courtesies extended to you
  • Be helpful and co-operative with each other
  • Be discreet and compassionate in your criticism of a co-worker
  • Don’t gossip about any co-worker’s private life
  • Do not try to sell things to your colleagues
  • Don’t hover around while waiting for a co-worker to get off the phone. Leave a note for them to call you or return later
  • It’s not a good idea to take your iPod to your office. It hinders communication
  • Avoid sexist comments about a co-worker’s dress or appearance
  • Surveys show that the office know-it-all proved to be the biggest gripe amongst co-workers. Don’t be a know-all
  • Take responsibility for your mistakes, apologise and go about correcting the mistakes
  • Apologise if you are clearly in the wrong. If in doubt, apologise anyway. It’s no big deal
  • Never blame someone else if it is your mistake
  • If your boss criticises your work, enquire about what precisely is wrong with it. Consider the comments, discuss them amiably if you disagree with the comments but defer to the bosses opinion if he/she is adamant
  • The boss always gets the benefit of the doubt. Don’t argue with the boss (however, there are standards of etiquette for employers too. Make new employees feel welcome and comfortable around you. Don’t be a busy-body
  • Office etiquette means being thoughtful when interacting with your peers
  • Keep your work area tidy. Try not to be messy
  • Show consideration for other people’s feelings
  • If there is conflict, do not get personal in your remarks
  • It is extremely rude to arrive late for a meeting
  • It is ruder still to not attend at all. Having a good excuse does not exonerate you
  • Do not dominate the meeting. All communication must take place through the chairperson
  • Do not interrupt another speaker
  • Pay attention to the proceedings quietly. Don’t shuffle your papers
  • Do not leave the meeting until it is closed by the chairperson
  • Never be petty or small minded in your behaviour
  • Always be particularly respectful to those older than yourself even if they are junior to you in position
  • Your elders are generally more mature in judgement and life’s experiences and this deserves your respect even in the workplace
  • Practice good manners and office etiquette at every opportunity; even in the toilet
  • ‘Mute’ your cell phone in the office. No fancy ring tones
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