So….now that Labor Day has come and gone, the festiveness of summer seems like a distant memory. Most folks are back from vacation and the fall intensity is revving up. Not to say we totally slack in the summer, but in many industries, summertime is a bit more of a relaxed workplace. Many companies in Manhattan actually offer ½ day Fridays so that employees can get out of town for the weekend early. Hewitt Associates research over the years has found that compressing workweeks is a way to keep employees happy without spending a lot of money.
I’m not sure why workplace etiquette seems to still be on vacation too. Is office etiquette sadly fading away? Well Mother, May I is here to help correct that trend. To some people, manners seem to be an old-fashioned concept — some stuffy idea from when people were not allowed to wear flip flops to work. If you spend most of your week in an office environment, you probably know that working closely with colleagues can be a productive, rewarding experience. You also know that their quirks, bad habits, and thoughtlessness can slowly drive you insane.
So with that in mind, here is a short list of office pet peeves and reminders of the civil and professional behavior that you can practice in the workplace…
- Cubicle claustrophobia: Too many people feel like their space is not their space. But even though a person works in an open area, it does not follow that they don’t deserve some privacy and respect.
- Leave other’s belongings alone
- Knock before entering another’s cubicle and don’t peer over cubicle walls
- Use your indoor voice and don’t use your speaker phone unless you are alone or in a closed office space
- Kitchen confidential: It is funny, as we canvas different employees, shared space maintenance is a common issue. If you put something in the refrigerator, you need to eat it or remove it before it goes bad. Leaving it there afterwards (and sometime long afterwards) is not only wrong, but frankly, gross.
- Respect other people’s food
- Clean up after yourself
- Be responsibility for what you use in common spaces
- Communication: Getting 10 emails when a brief face –to –face or phone call would suffice and solve any confusion
- Not responding to emails in a timely manner is unprofessional
- “People not taking ownership for their actions” continues to be one of the most common pet peeve globally, chosen by 78 percent of total respondents.
- No one is perfect so being authentic and transparent about an issue at work will save everyone’s time and improve productivity in the end.
- Showing up late for meetings: This is the office pet peeve that bothered hiring managers (65 percent) in the U.S. the most according to a LinkedIn survey.
- Showing up late or ill-prepared gives the impression that your time is more important than others, even your bosses.
- Passive-aggressive feuding. This happens when a coworker has a problem, but instead of solving it through open communication, punishes you with a range of undermining tactics. This can include eye rolling, the silent treatment, or excluding you from lunch or happy hour.
- It’s best to get the issue on the table and discuss it calmly, working together to find an agreeable solution.
Henry Ford was quoted as saying that “Being likable was more important than the knowledge of the job.” He said, “You can teach someone the job, but teaching them how to work with others is much more difficult.”
Being civil and mindful of others in the workplace is a best practice.
Let us know how turning on the right manners benefited you at work!
Lisa and Demetria
Co-Founders Mother, May I – Etiquette Experts