Workplace Do’s and Don’ts – Guide to Etiquette

Workplaces can differ in every sense. From dress codes to the informalities of how people interact with each other. The accepted etiquette will vary from industry to industry. Our guide to general workplace do’s and don’ts will help you navigate away from unintentional blunders.

Considerations When Moving to a New Job

The most important thing to remember is that you shouldn’t assume that what was acceptable within one company you’ve worked for, will be accepatable if you move to a similar role elsewhere.

Therefore, when you move to a new workplace, always err on the side of caution. Use those first few days to casually observe your fellow colleagues. You should try to establish what’s considered ‘reasonable’ behaviour and what isn’t.

If you’re unsure about things such as if it’s acceptable to have your mobile phone on, or specifics of the dress code, ask a colleague.

However, there are a number of workplace ‘dos and don’ts’ that are commonly accepted by most companies.

Workplace Don’ts

Often, it’s a simple matter of using your common sense. Start your new role by behaving in a manner that shows courtesy and respect for others.

However, there are also things that you should obviously not get involved with or encourage. Here’s a list of some of the most commonly cited examples of behaviour that is frowned upon by most companies.

Disregarding these can make you unpopular or might even get you the sack. Remember, when you start a new role you will be in a probation period and your conduct will be under assessment.

Things you shouldn’t do at work include:

  • Engage in idle gossip about other colleagues or your boss or ‘bad mouth’ them.
  • Don’t get involved in any banter which might have sexual or racial overtones.
  • Be modest and don’t harp on about any of your previous achievements or be an attention seeker.
  • Don’t try to court favour with your boss or immediate supervisors. Just doing your job in the best way you can is the best way of impressing those higher up the ladder.
  • Don’t assume something is acceptable practice. For example, assuming that it’s OK to leave your mobile phone on silent or vibrate, yet still respond to text messages. Establish the position on that and other things you’re not sure about first such as eating at your desk or work station. This is another good example where people often do the wrong thing.

Workplace Do’s

There are a number of things to do if you want to be seen as a valuable member of the team. Following the suggestions below will help you fit in at work, and settle into the new role.

These can include:

  • Being respectful and courteous towards others – even if you don’t necessarily like a co-worker.
  • Keep your voice at an acceptable level. A loud voice which is noticeable in the work environment can be counterproductive for othersand can be extremely annoying.
  • Offer to help others if there’s anything you might be able to do to assist them and make their job easier.
  • Dress appropriately and adopt a similar degree of formality / informality once you’ve established the acceptable ‘code of conduct’.
  • Make sure you understand the rules surrounding e-mail etiquette and the use of your mobile phone
  • Remember you’re being paid to work. Keep idle chit-chat and other things that may take your attention away from your workload to a minimum.
  • Stay positive and upbeat and…smile!

These are just simple dos and don’ts which reflect general workplace etiquette in most workplaces. Often they are as much about using your own common sense as anything else.

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