Office Etiquette for Every Employee

Today, many businesses are utilizing the open floor plan where the majority of employees work in cubicles set up in the middle of the workplace, surrounded by offices along the perimeter. In such close quarters, employees working side-by-side in cubicles need to remember one word – EMPATHY. It means to vicariously experience or understand the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of others. Simply put, treat people the same way you want them to treat you. Do not talk loudly while a coworker is on the phone or gossip about coworkers if you wouldn’t want the same done to you.

When referring to relationships between coworkers, Jacqueline Whitmore, founder of said, “It’s like a marriage. It’s the little things that get under your skin and mount up after awhile.” Avoid getting under your coworkers skin and the ensuing conflict by considering others and follow these general office etiquette guidelines:

· Be on time to work and scheduled meetings; do not sneak out early – people are depending on you to get a job done in a pre-determined set of hours

· Adhere to the organization’s dress code; do not wear revealing or tattered clothing or flip flops – it’s important to appear professional because as an employee, you not only represent yourself, but the organization

· Use perfume and cologne sparingly – coworkers may have allergies or sensitive noses

· Be respectful and friendly to everyone – good rule to follow in general

· Do not tell offensive or dirty jokes – you will end up in HR

· Hold the door and the elevator for others – another good rule to follow in general

· Use your manners – knock before entering an office, do not interrupt conversations, and say please and thank you

· Use your indoor voice – talking loudly in open areas may disturb coworkers on the phone, in a meeting, or trying to concentrate

· Use a tissue and wash your hands immediately after coughing or sneezing – this is the easiest way to prevent the spread of germs

· Avoid chewing gum and popping bubbles – eat a mint instead

· Eat lunch in the designated eating areas and not at your desk – keep your desk free of crumbs and keep smelly food out of the main office area

· Clean your own dishes and do not leave food in the refrigerator – the office cleaning service is not responsible for kitchen maintenance

· Put your cell phone on vibrate – it’s distracting to hear various ringtones throughout the office

· Do not use your personal social media accounts – it’s an unproductive use of valuable time

· Do not gossip about or criticize coworkers – no one likes to be talked about behind their back and it’s just not nice

· Take responsibility for your mistakes – apologize to all parties involved and correct the mistakes immediately

· Do not whistle or sing while walking through the office – it’s distracting to coworkers

· Keep your radio to a minimum – your favorite station may not be your coworkers’ favorite station

· Respect your coworkers’ privacy – do not listen to phone conversations

· Keep your work area neat and tidy – treat the office as if it were your home

Do you have a story to share about an inconsiderate coworker? Do you have any office etiquette guidelines to add? We would love to hear from you!