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Office Etiquette – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

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Rebekah Valero-Lee HR

Whether it’s an employee sneezing their way through the day or checking emails and answering calls in meetings, the workplace can be stressful when basic office etiquette isn’t followed. But why is office etiquette important? Here’s a lowdown on the good, the bad and the ugly.

The Good Behaviour

Office etiquette is important because bad manners at work can be bad for business by negatively affecting employee morale and productivity. We’ve all seen that serial office etiquette offender, maybe even unconsciously thrown them a disapproving look or worse, we may be the serial offender. When does good behaviour turn bad?

The Bad for Business

To ensure a happy and productive work environment, it’s essential to follow the unwritten rules of office etiquette. Doing the opposite can be bad for business.

  • Stay a home when you’re sick, nobody wants that virus.
  • Pay attention during meetings, multi-tasking is a no go and appears rude.
  • Eat lunch in your cafeteria or break out area, that smell of tuna will stick around for the rest of the day.
  • Have your phone on silent, we don’t need to hear Ed Sheeran’s latest single all day every day.
  • Don’t take somebody else’s food, it has a label on it for a reason.
  • Keep meetings to the scheduled time, it’s not fair on making the next group stand and wait outside the room awkwardly.

The Ugly way to Deal with Offenders

They are just some of the things that tickle those nerves. But how do you deal with offenders? Well, firstly you don’t reciprocate their bad behaviour nor should you get angry or frustrated. We all have bad days from time to time, so maybe a sympathetic comment is the best way in which to direct a colleague toward better behaviour. However, if that doesn’t help, it might be time to call in HR and look up those business procedures on how to report infractions. Then again, nobody wants it to get ugly, so if there’s an opportunity to talk to the colleague, go with that first.

Bosses, co-workers and HR representatives, what’s your experience with office etiquetteoffenders? Let us know on Twitter @Morsongroup with the hashtag #OfficeEtiquette.

Ready to deal with your own office etiquette issues? Click here for the latest HR jobs.

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