Below is the first of two parts of an article I recently contributed to NSIDE Austin Business Magazine:

workplace-etiquetteThe office was humming quietly. Our team was working diligently toward the deadline. It was getting late, but we were determined not to let the ever-growing task at hand overflow into the weekend. We each individually proof-read the proposal and the only sounds to be heard were… stomachs rumbling? One critical team member was the first to admit it—she needed fuel. She disappeared, we heard the ding of a microwave… and the aroma made it back to our conference room even before she did. Leftover cod and curried peas?!

We have all been there, but it never seems clear how best to respond. A few diplomatic workplace etiquette tips may help avoid this scenario and help respond in the future.

  1. Silence is Golden: Many workers and employees regret offhand or casual comments made in the workplace.  A receptionist was recently congratulated on her “pregnancy” by a coworker. After the receptionist explained that she was not expecting, the coworker was clearly embarrassed and quickly apologized for the inappropriate comment. They haven’t looked each other in the eye since.
  2. Respect Personal Space & Closed Doors: Stapler out of staples? Don’t open your co-workers’ drawers to borrow theirs without first asking permission. At best you will offend them. At worst you may be seen as the culprit if something comes up missing. When an office door is closed, respect your colleague’s need for privacy. Come back later.
  3. Profanity is Unprofessional: Profanity reflects a lack of vocabulary and education. Even if co-workers curse, you will be perceived as more articulate, mature, educated, polite, pleasant and professional if you refrain.  This is true in the office, on breaks and off duty.
  4. Avoid Speaker Phone: This is one of the biggest complaints from co-workers! Avoid using a speaker phone in a cubicle or with the door open. Get yourself a headset to improve your hearing and listening abilities. Using a speaker phone is inconsiderate of those working nearby, and is not appreciated even by those you have on the line if it isn’t necessary.

Stay tuned for an additional 4 tips next week at Protocol & Etiquette Worldwide!

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