Most of us will work in an office at some point, and spend more time with colleagues than with friends and family. That’s why it’s vital to keep the office environment as tension-free as possible. Some Universities are even preparing students by including training on manners and etiquette, a good example being MIT’s Charm School.
If you’re about to start your first office job, or even if you’re an office veteran, we can all do with a reminder of how to avoid being known as ‘The Rude One’, ‘The Lazy One’ or ‘The One That No One Wants To Sit Next To’.
Manners Maketh Man
Good manners are simple but make such a difference to office life. Offices are essentially little patches of personal territory, so treat other people’s work areas with respect. Ask before you borrow something, put things back where you found them and it doesn’t matter what level you’re at, always say please and thank you.
‘Can’t Someone Else Do It?’
Simpsons fans will recognise that mantra from Homer Simpson’s ill-fated attempt at running for Sanitation Commissioner. In real life it’s the worst attitude to have in an office. If you never pick up the post, never make a brew, never empty the shredder or avoid any of the other multitudes of office chores, you will get a reputation as a lazy diva.
In the close quarters of an office (especially open plan ones) you have to be aware of the noises you are emitting! Loud gum chewing, music leaking through headphones and tuneless whistling can become unbearable. We all have different levels of tolerance (some find silence more distracting) but ultimately it’s about having consideration for your office neighbours.
Personal Hygiene – the clue’s in the name
Activities that are normally reserved for the bathroom should not be done at your desk (stories of people cutting fingernails and even toenails are startlingly common). It’s a delicate subject but general cleanliness of colleagues can also be a concern. Unless your office is located near a fat rendering plant, in which case other people’s body odour is probably the least of your olfactory worries.
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