A beginner's guide to office etiquette

A beginner's guide to office etiquette

"The most important thing an employer is looking for is someone who can do the basic aspects of their work, are a good person in the office, are collaborative, communicate, are pleasant and are good to live with in a work environment."

The Naked CEO, Alex Malley

If you’re a graduate about to start your first full-time job, you are yet to experience the joys of working closely with others for eight or nine hours a day, five days a week. It can be tough, spending so much time with relative strangers. Be the cubicle neighbour everyone loves and get noticed for all the right reasons by following these office etiquette rules:

Always dress appropriately in the workplace: 

This seems obvious, but it is amazing how many people wear outfits to work that should never be seen during the light of day. If you look like you could be going to a nightclub, or the beach, or a mosh pit after work, you shouldn’t wear it to work. Dressing inappropriately can make other people around you uncomfortable and can reflect your attitude towards the job. Err on the side of caution and wear appropriate, clean, clothes and footwear.

Be respectful to those around you: 

When sharing an open-plan office space, it is really important to respect your co-workers’ ears, eyes and noses. Don’t be loud on the phone, switch your mobile to silent, don’t eat smelly things like tuna at your desk, clean up after yourself, shower and wear deodorant every day, don’t help yourself to other peoples’ food in the fridge, and keep breath mints handy at all times.

READ MORE: How to avoid being unpopular in an open plan office

Communicate appropriately with colleagues: 

Workplace emails should always be professional - LOL, OMG emoticons and ‘kisses’ should be saved for text messages to friends. Use spell-check before sending anything, remember your manners (please, thank you and sorry will all be well-received), and mind your tone – if it sounds rude, re-word it. Face-to-face communications should always involve your undivided attention and respect. This means arriving on time for meetings, not checking your phone during them, actively listening to what everyone has to contribute and maintaining a positive, engaged attitude.

READ MORE: 6 reliable ways to establish a rapport with your workmates

Every office has its own unique culture, but these tips are universal. Being mindful of other peoples’ feelings is a trait valued by colleagues and managers alike, so not only will you build great relationships with your co-workers, you’ll also be helping your career!


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