Home / Work & Childcare Articles / Office etiquette

Office etiquette

office etiquette

Written by:

If you wish to remain on the right side of your colleagues, you may want to brush up on your office etiquette. As the environment in which you spend a large portion of you time, it can be all too easy to get comfortable and forget you’re not hanging out with your friends, but are in a professional environment. Unless you work at the circus, then the following advice may not apply.

Interoffice Relationships

Before you finally rush up and ask out the woman you have been lusting after ever since she started, ask yourself the following questions: are you drunk? How likely is it she will say no? Could you cope with the embarrassment of rejection? Think about it carefully, after all you may have to work alongside this person for a very long time, unless of course you have another job already lined up, in which case, go right ahead. On a serious note, asking a colleague out could be construed as sexual harassment depending on the way you do, so if they say no, accept it and walk away.

Respect Your Colleagues

Be it opening doors or taking your turn to make tea, everyone appreciates a friendly workmate and this kind of behaviour makes for a happier working environment. One should also always be respectful of other people’s belongings, so make sure you ask before borrowing a colleague’s office supplies and always return them when you are finished.

office etiquette

Clean up your mess

Don’t just throw your cup in the sink, hoping it will magically clean itself; we all know how annoying those passive aggressive posters about “cleaning fairies” are, so don’t be the reason someone feels the need to put one up. Endeavour to keep your workspace tidy as messiness gives the impression of a disorganised employee and could diminish colleagues’ belief in your work ethic.

Eating at your Desk

Sometimes it is inevitable that you will have to consume your lunch at your desk, but if this is the case, leave that tuna and garlic pasta bake at home and consume something a little less aromatic. Studies have also shown it to be unhygienic to eat at your desk, so try either eating somewhere else, or clean your keyboard and work area immediately afterwards.

Distinguish between Workmates and Friends

You may spend five days of the week with these people, but do they really want to hear about your latest conquest? Keep it professional, even if some of your colleagues are in fact also your friends. You can always discuss it with them after work and save the rest of the office from the details of your private life.

Know How to Complain

If you have serious concerns about a workmate’s attitude towards you, or have a complaint about anything, address it with the manager. Do not use it as a source of gossip as this kind of behaviour will undoubtedly backfire and make you look extremely unprofessional. You have a right to be treated fairly in the workplace and by addressing the matter in the correct manner the situation should be resolved by your line manager, or between yourself and your colleague.

work etiquette

Never, ever make any jokes that could be seen as offensive to anybody. You may believe yourself to be hilarious but you could end up looking for another job should someone not share your particular sense of humour. Although you may think of yourself as the office joker, you could in fact merely be the office joke.





About Denise Morgan

About Denise Morgan

Denise has five years' experience writing for various web-based companies. During this time she has also contributed to magazine articles and brochures. In addition to writing, Denise is a gigging singer/songwriter and is proud to have featured on the first series of BBC One's The Voice UK, having been selected by the great Sir Tom Jones. Denise is mother to the most talented and ridiculously intelligent two year old that has ever been and ever will be (until she creates another one that is). This kind of hyperbole is restricted only to her progeny and is not a reflection of her usual writing styles... Denise and her son live in Manchester along with their five cats - yes that's right, five.

View all posts by