Whether you work in an office, in the field or in a nondescript setting, chances are, unless you are self-employed, you will be working as part of a team. Small or large, diverse or similarly talented, working as a team is an incredibly important part of success in businesses so it is important that you know how to get on well with other people.
While school activities and club organisations have helped you make friends and work well in projects with other people, when you are in close proximity to certain people for long periods of time, certain things can really get on your nerves.
It is important to your work life that you understand and respect the etiquette of the workplace in order to ensure that both you and your colleagues are able to work in a comfortable and enjoyable environment. If you have a complaint, there is always the chance that you can bring it up to human resources, but many individuals don’t want to have to escalate an issue if an issue can be avoided.
In order to help maximise your enjoyment out of your job, take a look at our short guide to office etiquette, or how to become a good and welcomed colleague.
Clean up After yourself
For shared spaces, cleaning up after yourself is a must. Whether it is a toilet, kitchen space or even a shared desk space, leaving your mess for other people to find and tidy up is just plain rude.
Make sure to always take your rubbish with you if there are no available bins, or request a rubbish bin from your supervisor.
Many companies are willing to provide you with everything you need, so if you say you need an extra rubbish bin for pencil shavings, don’t be afraid to ask. It is far better than irritating your desk partner who has to collect all the shavings every weekend because you keep ‘forgetting’ to clean them up yourself.
No Smelly Foods!
Everybody is guilty of bringing a strong curry or a fish soup from the night before on a day when they were running late. While it is a good idea to apologise for the smell beforehand, there is nothing worse than using the kitchen after someone else has just cooked their pungent meal.
If you can, air out the kitchen or use a deodoriser to get rid of the smell. If that doesn’t work, or if your kitchen is connected to the rest of your office, it may be a good idea to just not bring in strong smelling foods. There is such a wide range of culinary options out there, and if you really fancy a bacon and fried onion sandwich, you can at least wait until you get home first.
Humming/Singing in the Office and Office Music
Having the radio on or playing Spotify in the office can be a great way to break the silence, improve the atmosphere and increase concentration or even provide a nice break from the daily tasks. Listening to music can really help with workflow and it also provides you with regular breaks when you need to take a moment to figure things out.
However, not everyone is keen on having a singalong session and if you have headphones in, humming can get very annoying for those who can’t hear the actual music. Try to tone it down where possible.
While it is important for you to feel comfortable and safe in a working environment, there is such a thing as going too far, and the line is crossed when your workmates start feeling uncomfortable.
There is nothing wrong with making your desk space personalised to you or bringing in a potted plant to liven up your area, but putting offensive posters up or even making yourself comfortable enough to – say for example – remove your shoes because they are a little tight is a bit excessive.
Other people don’t want to smell your feet and in a hot office during a warm summer’s day, feet are bound to smell. For the good of everyone, keep your shoes on and don’t get too comfortable in the office.
Of course there are going to be instances where we all slip up, or we state something that someone else might find annoying. Working through these issues is how work teams grow and develop as a company and without these barriers they would never progress.
By working through challenges you develop stronger bonds with your teammates and as such this can even improve your attitude towards work in its entirety. What does this mean? A stronger working environment and more motivated colleagues!
When you get on well with people, things tend to look up, so in order to help progress both yourself and your business, make that little bit of extra effort to make your colleagues feel comfortable. It’ll certainly be worth it in the end.
Quick Tips for Improving Office Etiquette
- Arrive early, especially for meetings, interviews and appointments. Here are six reasons why arriving early makes sense.
- Dress appropriately. If your co-workers wear suits or formal wear, it’s wise to follow their example. Avoid coming to work in jeans or leggings (unless it’s Dress Down Friday).
- Remember people’s names. Doing so goes a long way to building a good working relationship.
- Avoid text speak. U no wot I mean. Even if it’s only on internal documentation or correspondence. It’s unprofessional on so many levels and could harm your career.
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