Ever had your lunch eaten at work? Or been called by a colleague at weird hours of the day or God forbid the weekend? Even though the standards vary for different corporations and work environments, a lot of people don’t realise or acknowledge basic work etiquette.
It often times makes the work environment uncomfortable and one could even say hostile. I’ve worked in all of two offices and I have to tell you, people often times forget that boundaries exist especially at work. Etiquette is not the special reserve of royalty and such a thing as work etiquette does exist.
Before we get into the crux of things, I need you to think back to the time someone did something very unofficial to you in official settings. Yh, not a great memory right. Now think back to the last improper thing you did in an official setting.
One way or another, we’ve all been guilty of practicing improper work etiquette. Trust me, been there, done that. This guide though detailed, cannot be exhaustive. So whether it’s your first day as an intern or starting a new job or you’re donkey years in the workforce, you might be guilty of some of these so read up.
First and foremost, you should never have to be told this but as the #metoo movement came to reveal (and even though we know and live this horror everyday) we apparently have to keep reiterating it. Do not sexually harass anybody, and this covers any and everybody. No groping, blackmailing someone into having sex, no lewd comments, no touching people’s body parts inappropriately. Yes Ahmed, Kunle and Amaka, even the arms are a no. And if you’re being sexually harassed at work, please report to HR.
Proper hygiene is not a suggestion. Take care of your personal hygiene. Be conscious of your office hygiene also. Keep a neat office space, use the restroom properly, clean up after yourself and just be a decent, clean human being.
Lunch. Yes, Lunch. To some, food is as close to the heart as a friend or even closer (to be honest depends on the friend and the day, lol). Do not eat your colleagues’ lunch or snacks. If food is supposed to be for everyone don’t be the rude person that takes half the portion. If there is a cafeteria, make use of it. If at all you have to eat in an open space, be cautious of smells, chewing sounds and anything else that might make others uncomfortable.
Do your job. You know, the reason you are actually employed and is being paid a salary for. Yh, that job. Stop slacking at work and making people pull your own weight. And stop taking credit for other people’s work.
- Do not call colleagues at odd hours, post office hours and never on weekends. Except you guys are friends outside work or it’s an emergency but otherwise don’t do it. And if it is, maybe send a message first.
- The office environment extends to the group chats too. Type properly, don’t post things that are irrelevant to the group and please stop posting ads. And if you want to ‘PM”-Personal message someone, ask first. Finally, stop with all the terms of endearment.
- Sounds guys. No loud calls, personal or otherwise. Don’t read out loud, especially if you are in a shared office space. Talk to people and don’t scream at them, stop talking too loudly when the person is close to you. Reduce your ringtones, the whole office doesn’t have to know when you have a call.
- Observe good email etiquette. Cross check your emails before sending, reply to emails and messages on time and please do not use your personal email as your work email. Don’t use shorthand, stop copying everybody in things that they aren’t involved in. Lastly have an email signature.
Don’t interrupt people rudely at work. Let people express their thoughts, ideas and opinions freely and give constructive criticisms.
Don’t get physical at work. Resolve conflicts professionally. If it’s getting out of hand then report to the HR team if you have one or your boss.
Stop gossiping about people, spreading false news and stirring the pot at work. If you need drama in your life, find it elsewhere not where people are trying to earn a living.
Be careful with social media. There’s a thin line when it comes to sharing about your life on the gram and twitter. Be cautious so you don’t end up gaining followers and losing your job. What you do with the details of your life is your personal business. Try not to share information or stories about your colleagues without their permission.
Don’t be the office grinch. Sure you might be a very private person or you just plain hate your job and your colleagues. That doesn’t automatically give you license to be rude or a snub. You don’t have to be friends with your colleagues or attend all the office events, but every once in a while it won’t hurt to go out to one of them. A smile or a friendly hello to someone at work wouldn’t hurt also. I promise it doesn’t hurt as much as pulling teeth.
It should go without saying that you shouldn’t sell or share confidential work information. Asides from the possible lawsuit, it’s just bad form.
And finally, please respect people’s personal space and boundaries at work.
So yes guys let’s go and be better colleagues at work. And if indeed you are the office asshole then do better.
Feel free to share your work horror stories with me.