How annoyed do you get when you try to merge onto the highway and the person in the slow lane doesn’t let you on? How about when you’re in a middle lane on the highway and you’re being tail-gated?
There are certain unwritten rules to follow while driving. It’s called driving etiquette.
Similarly, there is certain office etiquette to follow. These unwritten rules should be followed by every person in every office. Better yet, they should be followed regardless of your type of work place.
Each of the six office etiquette tips below should be common sense. Everyone should know them and follow them. But, they don’t.
Office etiquette – Kitchen
1. Brew more coffee – If you empty the coffee pot or carafe, it is office etiquette to make another pot.
“But, “I didn’t take it all. I left just a little bit so someone else would have to make it.”
Yes, you’ve done it before. You know you have. That’s even worse to do. Take responsibility for your actions and make some more coffee.
2. Wash your dishes – Do not leave dirty dishes in the sink for someone else to clean them. Most offices these days have a dishwasher. At least put your dishes in there.
My office kitchen used to have a sign that read, “Your mother doesn’t work here so clean your own mess.” Even if your mother does work there, be respectful and clean your own dishes.
Office etiquette – Restrooms
3. Wash your hands – It is pathetic that every restaurant restroom has the sign that reads, “Employees must wash hands.” Weren’t you raised to wash your hands if using the restroom?
I witness men all the time who just walk right out of restrooms without washing their hands. Hard to believe but it’s commonplace.
Then, there are the fake washers. They turn on the water for no more than three seconds, rip off four paper towels and pretend they wash their hands. Really?
This isn’t even office etiquette. It’s life etiquette.
4. No cell phones – At least once I week I hear someone talking on the phone when using the restroom. Come on people!
What would the person on the other line say if he/she knew what you were doing? Aren’t you embarrassed when the toilet flushes next to you?
Enough said about this little office etiquette tip…
Office etiquette – Meetings
5. Be on time – We’ve all been guilty of being late to a meeting. Sometimes you can’t help it (which should be rare), sometimes you forget (happened to me earlier today) but most of the time it’s a demonstration of a person’s disrespect for the other attendees.
When it’s a leader of the meeting or the most senior person attending the meeting, it is really bad. Especially when it’s habitual. Being late, regardless to what type of event, appointment or meeting, should not be commonplace. Office etiquette forbids it.
6. No “one-minute” meetings – How many “one-minute” meetings have you actually had? None, I bet.
Since “one-minute” meetings don’t happen, don’t ask for them. When someone asks if you have a minute, be honest. If you do not have time, say no. If you technically have time but would rather talk later, say so.
My favorite is when I’m asked if I have a “quick second.” Unless I failed the “telling time” lessons in first grade, every second is the same length of time, just as every minute is only 60 seconds.
How many of these office etiquette tips do you need improve today? What about your co-workers? The only way to help people perform according to proper office etiquette is to tell them when they do not conform.
Of course, this should not be done with harshness or brashness. It needs to be done gently and kindly. Find a way though or you will keep witnessing the same office etiquette blunders.
What other office etiquette tips do you have? Please leave them in the comments below.