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The Role of Etiquette in the Workplace

Learning how to successfully navigate the rules of office etiquette is a critical step toward thriving at work. The following will help you negotiate social situations with confidence.

Vintage photo of workers eating lunch on steel beam with city scape in background.

These days, an office isn't just a place where we do business - it's a veritable second home. That's one reason why workplace etiquette is so vitally important. Knowing the rules that govern social interaction in the office helps us get along with our colleagues, which in turn boosts productivity. A strong command of workplace etiquette is also a competitive advantage, as it helps impress superiors, and generally fosters a more pleasant environment.

With that in mind, let's review the role of etiquette in the workplace, and how these rules can help you become more productive and successful.

Don't Be A Hero When It Comes To Illness

Sure, you might feel like you're letting the company down by calling in sick, but you're actually doing your co-workers a favor. Going to the office and potentially making dozens of your colleagues ill isn't going to impress anyone.

Punctuality Is Key

Attending meetings consistently and on time is non-negotiable if you want to maintain harmonious office relations. There are few things that will alienate your co-workers faster than holding up their schedules to accommodate your tardiness.

Be Aware of Volume

Those who work in cubicles should pay particular attention to the volume of their speaking voice when on the phone. It's also important to respect the personal space of your colleagues when working in close quarters. If you'd like to have an impromptu meeting, opt for the break room instead of your cubicle.

Avoid the "Desktop Diner"

There's no doubt about it: Eating lunch at one's desk has become a common sight in just about every workplace. That doesn't mean, however, that it should be a daily ritual. If you're over-scheduled and trying to catch up with work, there's no problem with eating at your desk to save time. Yet consistently failing to eat in a social setting means you lose out on networking opportunities and the chance to deepen bonds with your colleagues.

Keep Your Workplace Clean

A clean and orderly work area shows respect for the office and your colleagues. This cleanliness should extend to other areas of the office as well, including communal areas such as the kitchen or the break room. Nobody is a fan of dirty dishes or moldy food in the refrigerator.  

Use Restraint When It Comes to Perfume and Cologne

A little bit of either is fine, but be careful not to go overboard. Some people are allergic; others simply object to an overpowering scent.

Don't Get Overly Personal

It's important to recognize and respect boundaries in the office. Don't get in the habit of divulging sensitive personal information, and remember to maintain a sense of decorum - especially when interacting with colleagues at social gatherings outside the office.

The Takeaway

Learning how to successfully navigate the rules of office etiquette is a critical step toward thriving at work. By following the advice outlined above, you can negotiate social situations in the workplace with confidence.