Office Etiquette

Written by on June 12, 2012 in Career - 1 Comment | Print this page

Office Etiquette

No more than one quick spritz of perfume or cologne. Otherwise, you may end up as the Office Smelly Kid.

The average person spends about 25% of their week at work. So, it stands to reason that you and your co-workers have to learn to get along or you’ll kill each other. Here are a few rules that will help keep your workweek smooth and murder free.

No One Likes the Smelly Kid

When you were a kid, everyone in class avoided the smelly kid. Well, nothing has changed. Make sure you’re not the smelly one that everyone avoids.

We all know that we need to practice basic hygiene. So, we shower, use deodorant, and launder our clothes on a regular basis. However, there is more to not being smelly than taking your daily shower.

Make sure your perfume or cologne isn’t overwhelming. I once had a coworker that could instantly clog my sinuses and give me a pounding headache just be walking by. If you must use perfume, just use a tiny dab. One spritz is enough. Remember, people have trouble smelling themselves, especially if they use the same scent for a long time. So, you may lose your ability to judge if your fragrance is suffocating your officemates.

Also, don’t bring smelly food for lunch. Sure, last night’s salmon was amazing but, no one wants to smell it all day long. It may taste good but, once it’s reheated in the microwave, it’s all everyone will smell for the rest of the day. Do your coworkers a favor and keep the strong smelling food at home.

While we’re on the subject of lunch, be paranoid about your breath after lunch. In Korea, it’s common for office workers to keep a toothbrush and toothpaste in their desks so they can brush after lunch. This is a good habit to start. It ensures you have fresh smelling breath after lunch and it’s good for your teeth.

No One Likes a Thief

Even thieves dislike other thieves. So, do not be a thief. This means that you only eat what you brought, unless you are expressly offered it. Do not assume that something in the office refrigerator is communal, even if there are multiples of it. Nothing sours a relationship faster than finding out your colleague is the one that ate your sandwich. You will never look at them the same way again.

Lunches are not the only thing that can be stolen. Never, ever do something like stealing your coworker’s praise, credit or, recognition. It’s wrong. Plus, if it’s ever found out, you look like a total scumbag. Be honest in your dealings with others. It shows character and trustworthiness. A good reputation is a valuable business tool.

Remember not to steal little things, like candy. Do not go into your coworker’s office ten times a day to raid their candy dish. Take one piece and leave it at that. They are not your personal candy store. It may seem like they’re not paying attention but, they are. They are paying attention and they are keeping count. Trust me.

No One Likes a Chatterbox

Being friendly with your coworkers is great. If you all like each other, you will work better together. However, your primary objective is to work. Do not turn your friendship into a burden. If the person is obviously busy, don’t start telling them about something unrelated to work. Save it for breaks and lunch.

Also, don’t lurk outside of someone’s office unless it’s important. I’ve had coworkers do this to me. I’m on the phone or speaking to my boss and my work friend is awkwardly waiting outside of my office for me to finish. When I’m done, they come in and tell me something random that could have definitely waited. It’s distracting to do this. I couldn’t fully concentrate on my conversation because I was distracted by my friend. Then, when they come in, I may have been doing something like making notes or performing follow up tasks and was interrupted.  Don’t get into a habit like this. It lowers everyone’s productivity.

For most people, working is an unavoidable part of life. So, anything you can do to improve your work environment will positively affect your life.

What rules of office etiquette do you wish your coworkers observed?

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About the Author

Jen Small

Jen is a writer who is originally from South Florida. A former recruiter for a Fortune 500 company, she has also worked in several different industries - real estate, insurance, construction, and education. Jen has now taken this experience to help others as a resume writer and designer. She currently lives and works in South Korea. View all posts with career advice.