Workplace Etiquette – Good Appearance as an Indicator of Civility

WORKPLACE ETIQUETTEGood Appearance as an Indicator of Civility (1)A Company or organization is a group of people who come together to operate systems and produce goods and services. The most critical component of ‘the company’ is ‘people’, and they have to come together and stay together in a healthy and respectful environment- one person valuing the other while projecting and applying the best of himself. When this dynamics is missing or ignored, productivity will suffer.Another definition of ‘company’ drives the point home: “the fact or condition of being with another or others, especially in a way that provides friendship and enjoyment.” Friendship, respect, and consideration for others are key for providing a healthy and productive environment, and this is the basis for Business Etiquette practice, and underpinned by these 3R’s: Respect, Responsibility and Restrain. George Washington, the father of Modern Etiquette said this in the first of his written 105 Rules of Civility and Etiquette that, “Every action done in company, ought to be with some signs of respect, to those that are present”. It is an act of respect and responsibility when you choose to use your earphones to listen to a media in the office, rather than the phone speaker. Etiquette is defined as the set of rules or customs that control accepted behaviour in particular social groups or social situations. In the workplace, there are rules on how to behave in a manner that lets you live, and let others live too…happily. The cost of rudeness and incivility in the workplace could be very high. Research on has confirmed that workplace incivility has negative impact on both in‐role job performance and innovative job performance. You cannot do routine and prescribed task well nor be creative when you are always put on the edge by the nastiness of your peers or boss. It also depletes job satisfaction; and in organizations where rudeness, bullying, crass behaviour and intolerance are rampant, high employee turnover will be a grim consequence. There are three areas of business etiquette you need to pay attention to and learn the codes, they are: Appearance, Behaviour and Communication. I call it the ABC’s of Business Etiquette. This is going to be a series of articles, but we begin today with the etiquette of your appearance. You really can be offensive with your looks and you have to avoid that. There are codes for dressing to work, and even if your workplace hasn’t put one up yet, you can learn about it and dress properly. Offensive dressing can be seen in people wearing revealing or skimpy and tight outfits, clothing that don’t belong in the workplace and poor grooming. We can assume that no one does these thing deliberately, but the effect is what is most important- a violation of policy, people’s sight and a sense of smell. Likewise, the result for the culprit is a huge dent in professional image. A thorough professional pays attention to looks. Oscar Wilde said “it is only shallow people who don’t judge appearance”. The way you dress is an indicator of your sense of self worth- how much you value and respect yourself. A person without self respect is unlikely to respect others. When you look modest and attractive, you are easy to approach and relate with, your personal brand soars and it will elevate your mood. On the corporate side, the worker is seen as the live extension of the company’s image. A respectably dressed professional is assumed to be working for a reputable organization with a focus on people and quality; whichever angle you consider this from, it is a win-win scenario for the individual and for the organization.Below is a list of 10 areas where people make the most errors in their professional appearance: • Flouting the dress code • Absent or wrongly-worn Jacket • Wearing the Wrong Fit • Wearing White or Vibrant Coloured Socks on Business Clothes • Uncoordinated Leather Wear • Excessive Makeup and Colourful Nails • High-riding Slits and ‘Jumpy’ trouser hem • Bogus jewelries • Poor Grooming • Mouth Odour and Body Odour

In the next article I will be discussing these common errors more elaborately. It should be fun! In summary, the workplace will become a more orderly and vibrant place when people dress appropriately for work, in a manner that enhances their personal image, puts coworkers at ease and reflects positively on the organization.
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