Workplace Etiquette: Mind Your Manners Please

We all know that the essence of good manners and etiquette is to be respectful and courteous to all – all the time. But what about in the workplace, what’s expected of us? When it comes to workplace etiquette, there are written and unwritten rules. The written rules are often found in policy manuals and guidebooks. But not so for the unwritten rules, which may take some figuring out. We can observe the behaviours of senior level managers for clues, but oftentimes, the unwritten rules for workplace etiquette boils down to commonsense.


Mind Your Manners Please


Take responsibility: If you make a mistake on a critical project, immediately take responsibility, do not blame others, or make excuses. If you realize that you are in the wrong, apologize and move on.

Respect other people’s space and property: Because people may work in cubicles doesn’t mean that they do not have the right to privacy. Do not enter another person’s space unless invited to do so, or use their properties without express permission.

Monitor the level of your conversations: Privacy is sometimes very difficult to find in today’s workplace, so check the level of your conversations to ensure you are not disturbing other coworkers.

Minimize personal communications: Keep personal emails and telephone conversations to a minimum on work time.

Dress appropriately: Tank tops, leggings and flip flops aren’t appropriate in a corporate setting, even on casual Fridays. Dress professionally, and dress for the position that you are aspiring for. Make sure your clothing is comfortable and the proper fit. If you can afford to do so, hire an image consultant to help to coordinate your wardrobe and choose the colors that are appropriate for your skin tone.

Listen first, respond second: When someone is speaking, listen to what they have to say then respond. If you are not clear about what they have said, ask for clarification.

Customers are gold: When speaking to customers (or anyone for that matter) on the telephone, give them your undivided attention. Do not multitask, they will sense it. If a customer pops into the office, do not view them as an interruption, treat them with respect and demonstrate that you value their business.

 Manners extend to the kitchen: If you didn’t place it in the fridge, then do not eat it. If you place something in the fridge, eat it or throw it out, unless you brought it in to share. In that case, let others know that.


If corporations wrote policy handbooks to include every possible rule in the workplace, no one would be able to lift that handbook much less read it through. Always think commonsense when it comes to workplace etiquette and remember to say, “please,” “thank you!” and “you’re welcome!”


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