Workplace etiquette is the foundation of a comfortable and efficient workplace but is rarely ever spelled out other than in boring and dull employee handbooks. Much of the true etiquette and office expectations can only be learned on the job–by observing, interacting, and adapting to the company’s culture and your fellow employees’ temperaments.
Keep Shared Spaces Clean
Break and lunch rooms are often the most commonly used space between all employees, and are used as a place to relax and eat as well as socialize in a company approved way. It is essential to a good atmosphere that these spaces are clean and organized.
Nothing can upset a fellow employee more than getting their food stolen from the common fridge, a dirty microwave with splashed food all over, or stinky leftovers. Treat the common areas as you would your own home and you should have no trouble.
Company phones are NOT for personal calls
Personal calls or communication should be conducted on a personal cell phone or other device, preferably in the hallway or outside of the workspace. This simple gesture maintains clear boundaries between work and play and can benefit both employee and employer.
This separation shows the employer that you respect their time and equipment and they can return the favor by allowing the employee to disconnect from work when they clock out and avoid the constant checking of email and other distractions.
Don’t push the dress code limits
Dress codes aren’t meant to suppress your individuality or creativity, rather, they are essential to maintaining a culture and atmosphere that is professional. A professional workplace is one where the focus is on business and the respective job components of that business rather than gossip, self-image, confidence, or other emotions that are not conducive to smooth business operations.
Never be late
It goes without saying that you should never be late to work, meetings, events, or anything else work related. What is harder to see, however, is the effect your late arrival can have on others. It can delay the current meeting, which affects future meetings and schedules, and can reflect poorly on your direct manager as if his employees are not in line, and encourage other employees to neglect their duties and professionalism, which can hurt the business.
Your job is likely important to you for more than just money. A job is also a source of social engagement, purpose, friendship, and other non-monetary advantages. Treat it well, even if it is not your desired job or the last one you will ever have; the connections and respect you gain can help you throughout the rest of your career.
Use speakerphone judiciously
Nothing can annoy fellow co-workers more than putting a client, vendor, or other customer on speakerphone when they are working near you. This distraction can prevent them from hearing their call and hurt their overall productivity.
You may think it is fine because everyone is wearing headphones and listening to music like you do, but remember the workplace contains a broad cross section of different people and not everyone is the same as you.