Office Etiquette


I have intended to write this post for a long time but somehow got deviated one way or the other. Office is one place where we don’t have control on the types of people we work with, at least in most cases unless you are the boss who gets to choose his team. Even being a boss doesn’t mean that you get the authority to choose your team. Anyway that being said the team itself doesn’t have much choice with whom they work with.

We are often subject to people with different interests and their different ways of doing things. For example some may prefer sending mails while some may like to send messages on IM (chat server) while there might be some who would just give you a call to get things done.

Similarly some like finishing things using the easy way out which might not necessarily be good – quality wise while there might be some who focus more on quality but lose track of time and of course there might be some who do it write both ways.

However there are many things that we do at our workplace that can annoy others around you. Most of the times, people do such stuff either unconsciously or because of ignorance. They don’t realize that their actions can cause disturbance to others. So here are a few quick tips:

People talking in different languages other than the one specified at work: In most places where people from different countries or regions with different languages work together, it often happens that the people who know the same language start speaking together in that language which can cause inconvenience to others around you. It can also make others feel that you are having a conversation that you don’t want others to understand.

Eating at your desk: Although most work places allow eating lunch at desk, it is generally a good idea to go to the cafeteria or head out to the open patio or some other place to have lunch. This would avoid inconvenience to others caused by the smell of food and also avoid dirtying the place. It is also a good opportunity to get away from your desk and take a break.

Talking too loud: Speak in low tones while talking over the phone or to your colleagues at work. Others around you might have an important assignment to finish and may not be able to concentrate because of your loud noise.

Peeping into others monitor: Peeping into others monitor while they are working or reading emails or typing password is not considered polite. Excuse yourself if you have to or try to step away if you see a person is about to key in his/her password.

Taking things from others desk: Do not consider others property as yours even if that person is your friend. Opening others drawers or taking food, snacks or stationary from others desk especially when they are away is not good.

Keeping workplace dirty: Always keep your workplace clean, if you use common areas like refrigerator, microwave or coffee machine; leave it clean after you use it.

Do not forward casual emails: Work emails are not meant to send personal messages especially those random forwards that your friend sent. Do not treat your work email as facebook.

Give a person space when they are on the phone: If you are at a person’s desk and he gets a phone call, go back to your desk and wait till he is free again or step away from his desk. Do not stand there waiting for him to finish his phone call.

Don’t spam people with too many mails: This is for those who send too many work related emails to others at work. There are 2 points to consider here – 1. Do not send mails to those that are not needed (Example sending to a whole distribution group) and 2. Do not send too many mails about the same thing to people. Over the time people will start ignoring your mails.

Do not adjust the thermostat too high or too low: Be courteous to others at work and do not adjust the temperature according to your comfort. Take others opinion before changing the temperature.

Do not play music: If you have to listen to music while you work, use headphones.

There are many more of these which I will write in another post. Hope this helps all of you identify your mistakes if any and encourage you to be more courteous to others at work.

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2 Responses to Office Etiquette

  1. Thanks for helping out, excellent information.

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