Office Etiquette

Office Etiquette

When you move to a new workplace it’s advisable to always err on the side of caution and sit back and observe your colleagues for the first few days.


No two workplaces will ever be the same; from colleague-interaction to dress code, every office will have its own ethos and viewpoint regarding what is acceptable office-etiquette.


However, this article will only highlight ‘dos and don’ts’ that are relevant to every organisation.

Workplace Dos

If being seen as a valuable member of the team is important to you and you want to be invited to any social events – then you may want to take these tips onboard.


What you should be doing:


  • Be inquisitive – ask your colleagues about the rules that you’re unsure of. You don’t want to be the only person in the office who eats at their desk, or email too informally when it’s company policy to write in a certain tone. Asking the right questions can make you appear switched on and interested too.


  • Stay positive, upbeat and smiley – this will help to relieve both your own and your colleagues workplace stress. Plus there are worse things to be referred as than ‘the smiley one.’


  • Be respectful – even if you don’t necessarily like a particular person the secret is to not let them know that


  • Lend a helping hand – if there’s anything you can do to assist a colleague you should do it. It will benefit both of you in the long-run.


  • Dress appropriately – don’t gradually begin to dress less formally the longer you’re there – lots of people are guilty of this


  • Be considerate – Keep your mobile phone on silent and only take private calls during your break.


  • Tidy your desk – If you can’t see what material your desk is made from, then it is overdue a tidy-up. Keeping it clean and organised suggests that you’re on top of things and it’s also respectful for the people you work with.


  • Consider other kitchen users – If you finish the last drop of water in the kettle, then fill it up, wash up after yourself and dispose of your waste.


  • Address any interoffice disagreements – If you’re going to be somewhere for 40+ hours p/week, then you may as well try and enjoy your time there.

Workplace Don’ts

Common sense should come into play for most of these, but they all feature heavily across offices throughout the country. If you want to climb the ladder, whilst simultaneously having the respect of your peers then ensure you don’t make any of these mistakes.


What not to do:


  • Make assumptions (this mainly applies when there is no one round to ask) – I believe that ‘Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels’ put it best with the immortal quote “assumptions are the mother of all f – ups.” So if you’re unsure whether or not you can eat at your desk, then don’t. If you’re unsure whether you can use your phone at work, then don’t and so on…


  • Be a foghorn – Being loud is both counterproductive and annoying for other people It’s important to note that you’re being paid to work; so you don’t want to bring attention to yourself if you’re doing anything other than working. If you happen to share an office with your boss it is particularly unwise.


  • Gossip – This may be hard to resist, it can also land you in a lot of trouble. You never know who’s standing behind you…


  • Boast – No one wants to hear you go on about any of your previous achievements or be an attention seeker – it’s not a pleasant trait


  • Bring home to work – No one wants your personal life pushed upon them, so bare that in mind when you’re arguing with your partner over the phone or showcasing a highlight-reel of holiday photos on company time.


  • Use outlook for personal emails – We have all emailed fellow colleagues and friends from our work email, but it is important to keep this to a minimum and keep the emails ‘clean’ – it could end up backfiring and getting you and other people in trouble…


If you have any other examples of poor workplace etiquette, then kindly write them in the comments section – we would definitely enjoy hearing about them.


If you enjoyed this blog, then here is another ‘Dos and Don’ts’ blog we have written – CV Writing in a nutshell


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