The Basics of Office Etiquette

Career

As you begin a new job, you’ll start to learn about the typical office etiquette that’s followed by your colleagues. Every office has its own unique etiquette guidelines, but there are some basics that are universal. Read on to learn more about business etiquette, and afterwards, check out more tips and test your etiquette knowledge with the quiz at the bottom of this page.

Learn Your Office Dress Code

Every office has its own dress code, with some offices skewing more casual and others going for a more formal style. When you begin your new job, pay attention to what everyone else is wearing and steer your outfits in that direction. If you’re still unsure, feel free to ask one of your co-workers.

Stay Home When You’re Sick

Sometimes, new employees think they should come into work when they’re sick to show their boss that they’re dedicated to their job. But coming into the office coughing and sneezing won’t make your co-workers happy—and it could start a domino effect. To keep your co-workers healthy, stay home when you’re sick. If you want to show your diligence to your boss and co-workers, tell them that you’ll be available by phone and online.

Be Mindful of Volume

If you work in a cubicle, be sure to monitor your volume when you’re on the phone or talking to co-workers. If you need to make a personal call, it’s best to do it out in the hallway so you won’t have to worry about bothering your cubicle neighbors.

Be Positive and Polite

When you’re asking your co-workers for something, it’s always a good idea to add “please” and “thank you.” When you’re passing co-workers in the hallway, smile and ask them how their day is going or just say a quick hello if it looks like they’re in a rush.

Be Punctual when Going to Meetings and Appointments

Nobody wants to be known as the person who’s perpetually late to meetings and appointments. That’s why you should always try your best to get to your meetings and appointments early. Plan to get to your meetings at least 10 minutes early – that will give you time to spare if you run into traffic. Your clients and co-workers will appreciate your punctuality and it will start the meeting out on the right note.

Ask Before Borrowing

If you need to borrow something from your co-worker’s desk, always ask before taking it. This way, your colleague will always know where their belongings are. You’ll also be able to avoid the confusion of your colleague thinking they lost the item.

Respond Promptly to Emails and Phone Calls

If you receive a phone call or an email from a client, co-worker, or your boss, respond as quickly as you can. In general, try to get a response to them within 24 hours. If you’re going to be delayed in getting a response, send a quick email saying when they can expect a response. It’s also okay to prioritize emails—if an important email from your boss comes in, feel free to answer it before a more casual question from a co-worker.

As you begin a new job, you’ll need to learn the etiquette procedures at your new office. These office etiquette basics will help you succeed in your new job from your first day on.

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