The modern workplace is competitive, where success means surpassing yourself every day. It is a roller coaster of emotions that requires resilience and agility in response to rapid change and understanding proper workplace etiquette.
What is workplace etiquette?
Workplace etiquette is the code of conduct that defines acceptable and unacceptable behavior in a professional setting.
It includes ethical behavior, moral actions, and expectations, largely unwritten, but everyone needs to understand and follow them in the workplace.
Examples include arriving to work on time, dressing appropriately for the office, not using offensive language or gossip, being polite when communicating with colleagues and managers, and respecting differences among coworkers.
Why is workplace etiquette important?
Workplace etiquette sets clear standards, expectations, and boundaries to ensure a healthy professional work environment. This makes employees more productive by eliminating chaos or disruptions that destroy morale or breed animosity among employees.
In addition, workplace etiquette builds a strong team atmosphere that allows everyone to thrive in harmony.
There are many important reasons, but here are more workplace etiquette examples:
1. Don’t take credit for other people’s work ideas
Imagine being in a situation where you have put in the hard work and effort to develop a fantastic idea, only for someone on your team to take the credit for it.
How would you feel? Working within a team requires being mindful of the contributions of others. Taking credit for other people’s work, ideas, or accomplishments is unethical and can cause tension between coworkers.
Acknowledging the effort and successes of your team members is essential in demonstrating respect and professionalism.
Not doing so can have dire consequences on workplace relationships, resulting in a lack of trust and damaging those professional bonds. Is it worth jeopardizing those valuable connections for personal gain?
Always remember those close to you who have contributed and strive to cultivate an atmosphere of cooperation and respect in your team.
2. Keep your voice down when talking in the office
Your behavior reflects yourself and your team. Be conscious of this when you are at work especially working with others in an open environment.
Keep your voice down when talking in the office. You never know who may be trying to focus on their work, and your loud voice can be a distraction.
Without rules on how to keep our voices down, it is up to us in the office to be mindful of our surroundings and considerate of others.
Always remember that it is your responsibility to be aware of your environment and be considerate of your team members.
3. Let your boss know If you’re going to be late or absent
When you fail to inform your boss about being late or absent, it can have multiple consequences. Your team might have to manage without you, which can delay the project or decrease overall productivity.
And, it can put extra pressure on your colleagues, who may have to take on additional responsibilities they need to prepare for.
Also, it can affect your boss’s schedule and put them in a challenging situation to manage the team and the project without you.
So, letting your manager know about potential lateness or absences can make the team understand. In addition, it shows a lack of responsibility which can dent your reputation and eventually prevent you from being considered for promotion opportunities.
4. Always say please and thank you
Good manners are essential for professional success. Simple gestures like “please and thank you ” show respect and consideration for those around you and demonstrate that you have the communication skills necessary for effective collaboration.
Being polite in the workplace also reflects well on your character as a professional and helps build strong relationships with colleagues, managers, clients, and team members.
So, never forget to use please and thank you when interacting with people at work — it may seem small, but it can significantly impact how you are perceived professionally.
5. Arrive on time, or early if possible
When arriving to work on time, you demonstrate respect for your colleagues and manager. It keeps the workplace running smoothly and helps projects stay on track.
Coming early also gives you time to settle in and feel prepared for your job, allowing you to perform efficiently and effectively.
But when you arrive late to work, you show a lack of respect for the time and efforts of those you work with.
It can also disrupt the productivity and flow of the workplace, causing delays in tasks and projects. This can lead to frustration and resentment from your colleagues and manager.
Moreover, arriving late can make you feel flustered and unprepared, affecting your ability to perform your job effectively. Trying to arrive on time or early shows that you are dependable and professional.
6. Dress professionally, even in a casual office environment
Showing up to work dressed appropriately, regardless of the office culture, is essential for creating a great impression and demonstrating that you take your job seriously. It reflects how you feel about yourself, your colleagues, and your customers.
Although wearing a suit and tie may not be necessary every day or at all, dressing based on workplace values and your responsibilities can give you a better professional image.
7. Don’t use your phone in meetings
Using your phone during meetings is inappropriate, as it can be a major distraction for everyone involved.
Even if you think you can multitask by checking emails or messages while still paying attention to the conversation, doing so indicates that you are not engaged or invested in whatever is being discussed.
It is best to keep your phone on silent and out of sight during meetings, or if it is a critical step away from the meeting, to take a call or check your messages if you must.
8. Leave the office tidy every day
Tidying up and organizing your workspace each night is essential for creating a productive, professional environment. When you leave the office untidy every evening, it can harm team morale and the company.
A disorganized office can make it difficult for others to find necessary materials or complete their work efficiently. It can also give the impression that you must take your job seriously or need to be more professional.
On the other hand, leaving the office tidy every night can create a positive work environment where everyone feels comfortable and ready to do their jobs. It demonstrates a sense of responsibility and pride in your work.
9. Don’t gossip behind people’s backs
Gossip is a major no-no in the workplace. Gossiping is a breach of trust that can also harm morale and productivity.
When you talk behind someone’s back, you create a culture of mistrust that makes it challenging to work together effectively.
Even if it seems harmless chitchat, gossiping can quickly spiral out of control, cause misunderstandings, hurt feelings, and damage relationships.
Instead of wasting time gossiping, build strong relationships with your colleagues based on trust, honesty, and respect. It will create a more positive atmosphere that encourages collaboration.
Remember that gossiping is unprofessional and counter-productive. It is always best to stay quiet and concentrate on forging positive relationships in the workplace.
10. Take ownership of your work
Taking ownership of your work and responsibilities is critical to professional and work etiquette. Taking responsibility for your actions, successes, and failures demonstrates the level of maturity that a good boss looks for in their employees.
Your manager will value any employee who takes ownership of their results as it shows a commitment to the team’s success.
Taking ownership can also help you reach new heights in your career by allowing you to recognize where and how you can improve yourself.
Committing yourself to be accountable for your professional development can be highly rewarding, personally and professionally.
11. Try to know your coworkers’ names
Trying to learn and remember the names of everyone in your workplace can significantly impact the overall work dynamic. When you know your coworkers personally, it is easier to work together.
In addition, getting to know your coworkers can create a more positive and supportive work environment.
It is simple to ask someone’s name, but it can significantly impact the workplace dynamic, so introduce yourself and learn your team members’ names.
12. Be sensitive to cultural differences
Everyone comes from different backgrounds and has a unique culture that we should respect and embrace. A workplace should be a welcoming environment where everyone is comfortable, valued, and appreciated.
We must understand cultural differences to ensure harmony for all our team members. For instance, a gesture or phrase that may be completely harmless in one culture may be considered offensive in another.
Learning about and understanding different cultures can help prevent these cultural blunders and promote a more inclusive and welcoming work environment.
It includes being sensitive to different communication styles, customs, and traditions and recognizing that what may be acceptable in one culture may not be in another.
Not making jokes that could be taken offensively or being mindful of greetings, small gestures of cultural understanding can go a long way in creating a safe, respectful work environment for all.
13. Mind your language
Mind your language — it is essential to maintain an appropriate and respectful tone when communicating with colleagues. Using offensive words or phrases can damage your image and relationships.
It can cause emotional distress and be seen as discriminatory or harassing behavior. The impact can still be felt even if the intention was not malicious.
In addition, using inappropriate language can lead to severe repercussions, from a reprimand to termination.
Therefore, it is essential to be mindful of your words and ensure that your communication with colleagues is always respectful.
14. Don’t brag about your accomplishments
Show humility and respect for the contributions of others in any workplace. Bragging about your accomplishments can create a sense of competition, constrict team spirit, and hinder teamwork.
It can also make you seem arrogant, hurting your reputation among colleagues. Instead, focus on shared goals and work together to achieve them — this demonstrates your commitment to the team and can build strong relationships.
Remember, success is often a team effort, so show your appreciation for everyone’s contributions rather than just for yourself.
15. Support team members even if you are competing against them
When working in a competitive environment, it can be tempting to prioritize individual success over team goals. But not supporting your team could lead to a lack of trust and a breakdown in teamwork.
Coworkers may see you as not cooperative or as someone who prioritizes your interests over the team’s success.
While you may have individual goals, prioritizing the team’s overall success will show that you are committed to achieving shared goals.
Maintaining a supportive attitude towards your team while striving for shared objectives is essential so everyone can benefit from the collective success.
Despite competing against each other, always remember the importance of team support and realize that working together can help achieve more meaningful goals.
16. Never talk about politics and religion in the workplace
We all have our beliefs that only sometimes match perfectly with our colleagues. We have different political views, and our religious beliefs can be diverse since we hold these different beliefs and are not ready to change or compromise them.
No one wants to feel like their beliefs are violated or undermined. So, talking about religion or politics is best kept outside the workplace.
In an office environment, everyone should focus on their work and respect the beliefs of others without trying to impose their views.
It ensures that everyone is comfortable and respected, a key factor for creating an effective working environment.
Read also: 15 Examples of Commitments
Good behavior in the workplace creates an atmosphere of respect and professionalism, setting expectations for how employees should conduct themselves.
Positive etiquette builds relationships, allowing teams to work more efficiently while avoiding tension or discord.
Habits like being on time, dressing appropriately, speaking respectfully, and maintaining friendly demeanors are critical components of a thriving work environment.