Emily Post said it best when she stated that “Manners are the sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter what fork you use.” Proper office etiquette is an essential business tool. It impacts your reputation with your team, colleagues, and customers. Unfortunately there are no universal rules that govern all workplaces. However, the basics of good etiquette translate to all settings and industries.
What are the basics?
“When in Rome…” What you ear to work can affect the impression you leave upon others and your overall productivity. While comfort is important, wearing workout attire to an office where your team members and colleagues are wearing khakis and button-down shirts is not advised. The rule of thumb is to dress as you expect your team to dress.
Keep personal grooming, personal. There is a big difference between applying some lip balm or hand cream at your desk and giving yourself a complete manicure. Desks and offices are for performing work. All grooming, including makeup application and hair brushing, should be done in the restroom. Manicures should be limited to your home or the salon. If you remember that is completely inappropriate for your company pay you to do your hair and nails at work, or to do anything that is necessarily something to be done on your own time, then your subordinates will remember that too. It would be extremely difficult for you to reprimand this bad be3havior with your subordinates if they know you do the same thing. You should strive to always lead by example. Doing so will always make your life easier at work, both in correcting behavior and in maintaining productivity.
Table manners. Offices are not dining areas. Eating at your desk not only decreases productivity, but is annoying to those around you. No one wants to hear you chewing on your salad. They especially do not want to smell your leftover fish or last night’s spicy delight. Be mindful of what you bring for lunch. If there is a break room or a kitchen, then use it. This will keep your office space neat and work-focused., as well as allow you to casually catch up with your staff. When you are done eating, clean up after yourself.
Voices carry. As more offices remove their cubicle walls for an open concept workspace, voice control is imperative. Mind your volume when talking to the team or colleagues in open areas.
Sick time is available for a reason, use it! The absolute worst violation of proper business etiquette is going to work when ill. Staying home and resting will help the recovery process and prevent the spread of germs throughout the office. Honestly, it is worse to infect everyone, thereby risking temporary lulls in productivity, than it is to leave the team in order to recover and to rely on another manager for a few days. This is where leading by example is key.
These basics of proper office etiquette are universal. Adhering to them shows a level of leadership that will encourage your colleagues and teams to maintain an environment conducive to optimal productivity by adopting the same office habits.