Basic workplace etiquette can make or break whether you get that promotion. When you behave incorrectly at your place of work you are risking the possibility that co-workers will find you unprofessional or even unreliable. Learn what your business’s etiquette standards are, and stick to them. A few of the basic characteristics of workplace etiquette are universal:
With Customers and Clients
1. Respond Quickly – If a customer or client sends you a message of some kind, be prompt in responding to them and their needs. The more timely you are in your communication with them, the better they will feel about the relationship they have with you and with your business, which typically translates into wanting to do business with you longer and more often.
2. Don’t Judge – It is as the saying goes, “you don’t know a man until you walk a mile in his shoes.” We all have different cultures, backgrounds, ideals, and issues, so there is no room for judgement on how another person lives their life. When you toss the judgement, friendships can immerge between you and your clients, making them feel more comfortable working with you again in the future.
3. Be Personal, But Not Too Personal – You are allowed to be personal with your clients and customers, the more you build a relationship the better the communication will be; just don’t share too much about your personal life. Sharing too much can lead to uncomfortable situations for your clients and those around you; keep the personal side for home life, not work life.
With Co-Workers and in the Work Place
1. Be On Time – It seems like common sense to say you should be on time to work and work-related meetings, but you would be surprised by the number of people that just don’t seem to care if they are four or five minutes late here and there. Just keep in mind, that “here and there” can form a habit, and then you become the person in the office that is chronically late to everything; and yes, people are noticing.
2. Dress Appropriately – When in doubt, go with the crowd. When you first start with a company it is not a bad idea to ask them what their dress code is like and how they expect you to be at work. But, in case you forget, or don’t feel comfortable enough asking those questions, take a look around. What are other people wearing? Casual? Business Casual? Or full on suits and skirts? Copy them.
3. Smell Nice – There may be nothing worse than having a co-worker lean over you to show you something on the computer and have them breath their nasty stale breath in your face; do your co-workers a courtesy, have nice smelling breath. In the opposite regard, don’t go overboard with smelling nice either. Remember, a little perfume can go a long way, and just because it is your favorite scent, doesn’t mean everyone in the office loves it too.
4. Share the Credit and Take the Blame– Make sure you are not only recognizing your co-workers for their great work, but vocalizing your appreciation for that hard work, and the things they were able to accomplish. No one likes a person that takes all the credit for everything good that happens at work, but passes the blame when things come crashing down. So when things go wrong, and you know you were part of the problem, admit it. Then next time, make sure it doesn’t happen again; your co-workers and bosses will see that as more impressive than always passing the buck.
5. Don’t Be Too Loud – It is great to have friendships with those you work with, just make sure your talking, comments, and laughter aren’t so loud that they are affecting the work that is trying to get done around you. And especially take note when someone is on the phone, it is hard enough to have a conversation that is not face-to-face, give them the courtesy of being able to hear who it is they are speaking to.
6. Don’t Interrupt – You don’t like be interrupted, so don’t do it to others. When you’re in a meeting where people are allowed to make comments, give suggestions, and freely talk with one another, make sure you are actually allowing your co-workers to do this. Don’t interject when something they say sparks an idea for you, or when you disagree with their thoughts, let them finish what they wanted to say, and then speak.
7. Don’t Come To Work if You Are Too Sick – No one likes the office cougher, the hallway sneezer, or the cubicle nose-blower. Keep your germs to yourself, if you’re sick enough that people around you can recognize it, stay home, not everyone wants your virus.
Etiquette in the workplace is essential for good communication and positive collaboration. Adhering to and respecting this etiquette makes you look like a good professional. So step back, think about yourself, your interactions with others, the way you dress, the way you smell, are you in line with proper workplace etiquette?