7 Rules of Office Etiquette

By Randall Orser | Small Business

NX_telemarketer_man_womanFor those of us who spend our working lives in an office environment, the behavior of our colleagues is of some importance. Whether or not we wish to make friends among our co-workers – some people do and some don’t – staying on good terms with those who populate the office is an objective we all share. Observing the following seven rules of office etiquette will help you achieve that objective.

Limit the amount of perfume or cologne you wear to work.

Some organizations ban entirely the wearing of strong-smelling perfume, cologne, or deodorant, out of concern for those workers who are prone to allergic responses to these scents. Even if there is no ban in effect, show your concern for both those with allergies and colleagues with an aversion to strong smells by applying scents in moderation.

Ensure that your cellular phone’s ringtone is not obnoxious.

When Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony suddenly begins blaring in the next cubicle, it can be difficult to concentrate. Either turn the volume down quite low or set the phone to vibration mode.

Treat your co-workers’ cubicles as their personal office spaces.

This means that you would normally not walk in unexpectedly (unless you work very closely with the individual and have an established pattern of interaction). Rather, stop at the entrance, just as you would stop at the door of an enclosed office. Then, either knock on the side of the cubicle or say Hello before broaching a topic or entering the cubicle.

Make interruptions discreetly and efficiently

If you must interrupt a work conversation or a meeting to take a personal phone call – some people, especially parents with childcare responsibilities, have no choice – do so discreetly and efficiently. Excuse yourself, step away from the desk or meeting room, and complete the conversation as quickly as possible. When you return to the desk or meeting room, acknowledge your colleague(s) respectfully and resume paying full attention to the discussion.

Return office supplies that you borrow from a common area or from a co-worker.

The fact that all such office supplies are provided by the organization does not affect the obligation to return whatever you borrowed. So bring that stapler back to your patient neighbor and return the paper cutter to the photocopier room where it belongs.

During meetings, don’t constantly check your smart phone.

If the meeting is long and certain agenda items are not within your area of responsibility, it is acceptable to quickly check your phone. However, it is disrespectful to other attendees if you pay more attention to your smart phone than to the meeting.

Eat quietly at your desk

If you eat at your desk, do so quietly (avoid excessive crunching and chomping), don’t eat anything smelly (like tuna casserole), and dispose of your garbage promptly.

We all must spend a lot of time in the office. Observing these rules will enhance your relationships with all your co-workers – including your boss!



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