Professional Etiquette in the Workplace

As we return to working in-person at the office again, professional workplace etiquette requires getting back to the basics.

Here are a few tips to help:

  • Dress appropriately for your industry or office environment. Zoom chic is not appropriate unless working from home. Check and try on your work clothes and shoes well in advance in case alterations are needed or new items need to be purchased.
  • Everyone may be getting used to new routines, so allow for an adjustment period as changes can be stressful.
  • Always arrive on time or early (preferred).
  • Remember that personal space is a thing.
  • It is refreshing to shake hands again but remember others may not be ready for that greeting just yet. Be prepared to shake if you feel comfortable doing so, but do not feel offended if the person being greeted responds with a non-contact greeting. Remember that etiquette is all about making others comfortable.
  • Be careful to not interrupt a conversation between other people. Wait for a pause to interject or when once acknowledged by those conversing.
  • If in a cubicle environment, remember to avoid eating foods with strong smells and noisy sounds (ex. crunching a bag of chips or eating freshly popped popcorn). Enjoy those items in a common break room or designated dining environment.
  • Remember appropriate voice modulation for an open office environment especially since that may have changed unbeknownst to you, when working solo from home. And computer-based meetings may be ongoing, so be aware of meeting volumes in open-office environments.
  • Keep opinions to yourself, unless asked, thereby keeping all work correspondence brief and fact-based.
  • The office timeclock may not be as relaxed as your working from home timeclock, so ask about expectations to make sure there is not a misunderstanding of deadlines.
  • Remember office doors are there for a reason, even when open, knock. And even if a door is open, be careful not to distract someone if they are in the middle of a work task or on the phone. Consider emailing asking for a moment of their time at their convenience.
  • Consider the invisible cubicle door and treat the opening as a real door by being considerate of the person working in that space.
  • Be friendly to all, not only those you know. Remember to include new faces in group lunch plans or standard (to you) coffee breaks. Be kind and build relationships within your organization.
  • Don’t share too much when socializing with your colleagues. Consider not saying or doing something that you may not want mentioned in the office at a later date.

Do you have ideas about things to add to this list?

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