General workplace etiquette​

Workplace etiquette​

Workplace etiquette is an important part of your work environment. It refers to behaving in a sensible and appropriate manner for the workplace to leave a positive impression.​

If you neglect it, you could harm your long-term career and your relationships with colleagues.​

A lot of workplace etiquette is not written in black and white. However, it is assumed to be understood.​

If you don’t know if something is appropriate it is good to ask someone.

Helpful tips to navigate unwritten workplace rules

  1. At work try to keep noise to a minimum. Being noisy will be distract your colleagues. ​
  2. Regular lateness or absence is viewed as unprofessional behaviour.​
  3. Personal phones should be on silent mode.​
  4. Do not take personal calls in the office. For necessary urgent calls move away from your workspace to take the call and keep it as brief as possible.​
  5. Show respect towards all your colleagues. If you work in an open-plan environment you will likely be working with many different personalities, with different styles. Be tolerant of these differences.​
  6. Listen to other people’s ideas and be tolerant of their opinions and experience levels.​
  7. Minimise interruptions or interjections while others are speaking.
  8. Keep non-work conversations brief​
  9. Avoid sharing personal or offensive information in general conversations.​
  10. Have good body language. Do not slouch at the desk!​
  11. Do not use abusive language or swear words at work (even if joking).​
  12. Saying good morning or goodbye to colleagues is an expected workplace behaviour.​
  13. Be respectful of your colleagues’ personal spaces.​
  14. Do not eat meals at your desk: some smells can be offensive and overwhelming for others. In an open plan space, smells can be magnified.​
  15. Personal hygiene is important. Always wear deodorant, clean clothes and brush your teeth. ​
  16. Avoid strong cologne or perfumes.
  17. Share work credit between colleagues and contribute to team success.​
  18. Your work clothes must be appropriate for your work task or situation​.​
  19. People working nearby are not available for conversation at all times.​​
  20. Do not be negative or grumpy as this can affect the team’s mood and productivity​.​
  21. Focus on the positive things about your job. Do not talk negatively about your work.​
  22. Responding to work emails and calendar invitations is good work practice.​
  23. Be on time and prepared for meetings.​​
  24. Participate positively in team meetings.​
  25. Never fall asleep in meetings – stand up or use a fidget toy if you are feeling sleepy​.
  26. Where possible assist your teammates (it is a good idea to first ask if they need help).​
  27. Do not make fun of colleagues. Think about your colleague’s positives rather than negatives​.​
  28. Always strive to complete your tasks on time and advise your manager if you are unable to meet a deadline​.​
  29. Do not leave work early without prior permission from your manager.​
  30. Do not access personal emails, browse the internet or watch videos or games on your phone during work hours.  ​
  31. It is not appropriate to challenge the manager’s decisions in an angry or disagreeable manner. It is okay to ask questions in a professional manner.
  32. Do not spend too long in the washroom as others may need to use the space. ​
  33. Never check someone else’s notepads, files or computer screen without their permission. You are expected to respect other people’s privacy ​
  34. Only have professional pictures and figurines on your desk. ​
  35. Keep your workstation clean and organised. Keep your desk clear of unnecessary paper, rubbish and food wrappings.​
  36. Keep shared facilities clean. Do not leave your mess for others to clean up.​
  37. Remember to tell someone if you are taking an unscheduled break.

End of Module Questions​

  • Considering the tips above, what are some of the behaviours of workplace etiquette that will be important in your unique work environment?​
  • What is the most appropriate way of dealing with a colleague if you notice them behaving in a manner that is outside general workplace etiquette?

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