Workplace Etiquette in 4 Easy Steps

You might spend more time with your colleagues than you do with your family and friends, and being cooped up in an office together for hours on end can lead to tension and conflict. There are relatively simple steps you can take to keep friction to a minimum though. The following four tips should help you stay on the right side of your co-workers.

  1. Keep a clean and tidy workstation

You might consider your desk to be your own personal space, but this shouldn’t stop you from keeping it clean and tidy. Having a messy, disorganised desk is a sure fire way to irritate those around you. If your workstation tends to be littered with piles of paperwork, half eaten apples or empty food wrappers, now’s the time to clean up your act. Having suitable office furniture is a must if you want to combat clutter. For example, a desk with inbuilt storage, or one that comes with an integrated pedestal, can give you a convenient place to keep your documents and stationery. A desk tidy can also prevent chaos from breaking out on your workstation. And remember, if you finish eating or drinking something, put the remains in the bin. Don’t wait for the leftovers to decompose right there on your desk.

  1. Don’t be disruptive

Constantly making personal phone calls, failing to switch your mobile onto silent and shouting to colleagues across the room can drive your fellow workers to distraction. This is especially problematic in open plan offices where noise levels can quickly rise. Often, people don’t realise that they’re being disruptive to those around them. Next time you’re about to raise your voice, or if your personal ringtone blares out from your phone, consider the impact you’re having on your colleagues. By behaving with a bit more sensitivity, you can help to keep stress levels down your office.

  1. Stay off when you’re sick

You might think you’re getting in your boss’ good books if your stagger into work while sick, but the people sharing your space aren’t likely to be impressed. If you’ve got a contagious illness, don’t be a martyr and make your way into the office. Instead, spare your colleagues your coughs and sneezes and take a day or two off. Let’s face it, you’re not likely to get much done if you’re feeling unwell, so it’s much better to let your body recover and keep your germs to yourself in the process.

  1. Make an effort with your table manners

From heating up unpleasant smelling lunches to constantly grazing on noisy snacks, a range of eating habits can irritate colleagues. When you’re selecting meals to take into work, try to avoid choices that will stink the office out and, where possible, eat in the canteen rather than at your desk.

Office etiquette can seem like a minefield, but in fact much of it is simple common sense. By following these steps, you should be able to stay in the good books of your fellow staff members.

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