Workplace etiquette
Credit: Adam Grabek, Flickr

There are rules of etiquette in the workplace, some clearly indicated and some unspoken, should be followed in order to be successful on the job.  Many of these protocols are similar to the behavior expected at school.  

A 2015 poll by the placement agency Accountemps revealed some of the most common etiquette faux pas by employees in the workplace:

  • 31 percent gossip about their co-workers.
  • 19 percent do not answer phone calls or respond to emails in a timely manner.
  • 18 percent check their cell phones or are distracted in some way during meetings.
  • 14 percent are late or miss meetings.
  • 12 percent do not give credit to others when credit is due.
  • 7 percent criticize other people publicly.

These actions can have a negative impact co-workers by decreasing overall office morale because the lack of etiquette reflect badly on both the employees and their company. A more positive working environment can be created by following these rules of etiquette:

  • Avoid anyone who is participating in a rumor mill and don’t pass on office gossip. Gossiping reflects badly on you and makes others feel that you are not trustworthy.
  • Be on time for meetings. 
  • Do not put meetings on your schedule back-to-back. Instead, allow some time between the two in case the first meeting goes overtime. 
  • If you are running the meeting, stick to the allotted time. 
  • Focus on the topics at hand in conversations and in meetings. 
  • Pay full attention during group discussions. Do not allow anything to distract you such as cell phones or email notifications on your laptop. Mute your cell phone and keep it out of sight.
  • Mute your phone and cell. Doing so shows respect for others.
  • Respond promptly to voicemails and emails. Set time aside during the day to answer each voicemail email fully, so they do not interrupt your daily workload. Do check for emails that are marked as important during the day and make writing a response a priority.
  • Give credit to others for their contributions to work projects. No one likes a co-worker who hogs all the credit. When you acknowledge others in this way, they are more likely to reciprocate.

Some employees have bad manners, says Forbes.  For example, a worker comes into work when he is coughing and sneezing due to a bad cold, putting other colleagues at risk of illness.  His co-workers react by feeling stressed because they are worried about getting sick.

These employees are usually unaware of how their actions affect others. They may even think that coming in when they are not well instead of taking a sick day will impress their bosses with their dedication.  Managers or co-workers should pull the worker aside, gently explain how their actions are having a negative impact on their workplace, and ask them to correct their behavior.  The worker will probably be unaware of the impact of their faux pas, feel shocked and remorseful, and promise to be more considerate in the future.

When the rules of etiquette are followed, workers feel like they are respected, heard by superiors and co-workers, and acknowledged by everyone.