When it comes to working in a working space, office, or other professional setting, etiquette matters. How you present yourself and interact with those around you; whether your coworkers, supervisors, or direct reports, speaks to who you are as a person and as a member of the team, and can directly influence the trajectory of your career. Etiquette is so important to professional success, here are some useful tips that can be adopted at professional organizations.
1. OFFICE EMAILS: Understand the differences and repercussions between hitting “Reply” and “Reply All” when responding to an email. Carefully consider whether or not all of the parties who received the initial email need to be included in your reply. Additionally, by “replying all,” you may find yourself embarrassed as your entire organization reads details that were only meant to be shared with one or two others.
Be cognizant and intentional when crafting your communications. Work emails don’t need to be all serious all the time, but you’ll want to maintain a sense of professionalism so that others see you as the competent expert that you a
2. PERSONAL CONVERSATIONS: If you must have a private or personal phone conversation when you’re at work, try not to have the conversation at your desk where others can hear you. Many workplaces have conference rooms that you can use for phone calls; otherwise, it might be a good idea to step outside.
Having a personal conversation at your desk can be distracting to the coworkers near you, and may open you up to gossip about being someone who “can’t leave their personal life at home” which isn’t good for your professional image.
3. PERSONAL EMOTIONS: It’s best to leave your emotions at the door when you get to work. Your desk neighbor doesn’t want to hear your sob story from over the weekend. If you truly can’t focus on your work because something has happened, it’s probably a better idea to take some personal time to process your emotions. Or, if something in the workplace is bothering you, reach out to the human resources department or your supervisor to resolve the issue so it doesn’t interfere with your work.
4.QUESTIONS: Asking questions no matter how silly they may seem will help you clarify expectations and avoid erroneously completing an entire project only to realize you did it all wrong. There’s little worse than overconfidence especially if it isn’t backed up by experience or skill. So, go ahead and ask your questions, and be sure to truly listen to the answer.
5. WORK SOCIALS OR EVENTS: Company outings can be a great chance to socialize with your coworkers and get to know them outside of their 9 to 5 personas. But it’s important not to forget that, while you should be yourself, you’re still among office mates who you’ll be working side-by-side with tomorrow.
6. RELATIONSHIP AT WORKPLACE: In the workplace, you’ll often find yourself walking a fine line in how you present yourself. You want to be respectful, but you don’t want to come across as being stuffy; you want to appear confident, but you don’t want to overstep your bounds; you want to express your opinions, but you need to keep them rated.
Learning the balance will take trial and error on your part, but it’s an important balance to learn.
7. BE EARLY: There’s some common advice often given to new workers: You want to be in the office before your boss, and stay until after he or she leaves. You will be remembered for answering your phone at 8:01 a.m. in a world where tardiness is common (especially in major cities, where traffic can cause all kinds of headaches). Conversely, you will also be noticed if you consistently show up 15 minutes after everyone else just not in the way you want.
8.NETWORKING: You must complete your work on time and up to standard. But it’s also important to remember that a perk of having a job at a company you appreciate is meeting other people with similar interests who can share advice from their past experiences that you can use on the job. That’s why it’s important to take networking opportunities seriously, especially when you’re first starting on the job. Grabbing coffee or lunch with your coworkers, attending happy hour or other company functions, and simply making yourself available can go very far.
9. BE HELPFUL: If one of your coworkers asks you for help in completing a task, you should generally say yes as long as you feel that you can help them while also hitting your deadlines. This is an opportunity to stand out and demonstrate your knowledge and skills. It’s also an opportunity to make a friend and bring someone into your corner for the future; you never know when that might come in handy.
10. GIFT ITEMS: Who doesn’t love to eat? If you have free time one night, baking cookies, brownies, or some other treats can be a nice gesture for your coworkers especially if you’re celebrating a big win or going through a stressful period. Bringing something in that everyone can enjoy will only make the gesture that much more meaningful.
11. FLEXIBILITY: Sometimes, you’re going to be tapped for a project or initiative that requires you to be flexible. You might be asked to work earlier or later hours than usual; you might be asked to perform duties or tasks that you don’t necessarily want to perform, or that you weren’t hired to do. There may come a day when you are asked to work a holiday either to cover someone else’s shift or to usher a project through to completion.
While it’s never fun to work a holiday, a weekend, or to do “someone else’s job,” being willing to roll with the punches demonstrates that you value the company and take your role seriously, which will only help you in the long run.
12. DRESS APPROPRIATELY: What constitutes appropriate will depend on the particular culture of your workplace. But it’s always a good idea to dress to impress, especially when you’re first starting a new role at a company. Even if you don’t have a formal dress code, save the crop tops, flip-flops, and see-through shirts for the weekend no one will take you seriously if you don’t.
13. ALWAYS WEAR A SMILE: Having a positive attitude about being at work will affect your job performance significantly. Appearing happy, friendly, and approachable at work can do wonders for your career. Never underestimate the power of a smile!
14. MISTAKES AREN’T INEVITABLE: It’s understandable to be nervous as you move into your first job after graduation or when you make a career change to a completely new company or industry. But, it’s also important to remember that it’s okay to make mistakes; Nobody is perfect. As long as you’re constantly growing and learning from those mistakes, and make an effort to stop making the same mistake in the future, your coworkers will notice.
Always have it at the back of your mind that good manners never go out of style.