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6 Office Etiquette Tips and Rules in the Workplace

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Professionalism is key to success in any office environment. People often have difficulty nailing down exactly what ‘professionalism’ entails and how it relates to their day to day actions. Whether you’re a first-time employee looking to make the right first impression or an office veteran looking to get ahead, these office etiquette tips can help you become the office superstar you were born to be.

Here are six office etiquette tips and rules to follow in the workplace:

Tip 1: Keep It Professional

Professionalism is one of the most important office etiquette tips to follow. An aloof Brando-esque demeanor might have helped you get ahead in your social life, but it might not be appropriate in an office environment. The ‘cool is king’ mentality often directs the actions of new office hires who think that a devil-may-care attitude will elevate them in the eyes of their coworkers, but most just find this casual mindset irritating in what is supposed to be a purely professional environment.

Managers are looking for dedicated professionals who take their work seriously. If you ever find yourself ‘winging it’, you’re making the wrong call. Stay dedicated to your work while at work and you’ll find yourself advancing quickly.

Tip 2: Know When to Critique

In any team environment, the ability to effectively communicate your opinion on the work of others is a critical factor for success. It’s important to draw the line between providing useful feedback and being overly critical of others. Always make sure that the feedback you provide to your coworkers is a well-thought-out assessment of the idea or work itself and never some sort of ill-willed jab towards an individual.

Care should be taken to consider how others are going to perceive what you have to say. People typically judge themselves by their intentions while they judge others by their actions. It’s important to make sure that your communication is clear in its content and tone, to avoid making people feel uncomfortable during typical office collaboration.

Tip 3: Cleanliness Is Key

Cleanliness is another important office etiquette. The professional environment tends to set the bar higher than it would be at home or in other social situations. Slobs are highly unwelcome in this environment. Always make sure to keep a clean work area and a neat appearance. Anyone taking note of issues with your personal hygiene immediately forms a negative opinion, which can severely detract from any assessment of your actual work.

If you find yourself thinking, “I can go another day without a shave” or “this shirt isn’t THAT dirty”, you’re almost certainly committing some sort of office faux-pas. Whatever standards you might enjoy in your personal life need to be eschewed in favor of whatever the standard is at your particular work environment.

Tip 4: Watch the Office Politics

A nice piece of juicy gossip might look like a quick way to get into the good graces of whoever you’re sharing it with, but it isn’t. These kind of juvenile schoolyard antics don’t have any place in a professional setting. Developing a reputation as some sort of blabber-mouth will make your co-workers weary around you.

While it might not seem so bad if they were to keep their personal lives to themselves, you might find this apprehension bleeding over into work-related situations. You’re unlikely to move up quickly if you turn yourself into an office pariah.

Tip 5: Don’t Be Late

If it’s your first time working in an office environment, you might very well find yourself with less rigid clock-in requirements than if you had been working retail before. Showing up a few minutes late or knocking off a few minutes early might not have dire consequences – at least not immediately.

While there may not be an immediate reprimand, your boss is probably well aware that you aren’t showing up on time. If this is a regular thing for you, they will begin to form an image of a person who just doesn’t care about the work they are doing. Always showing up on time helps you develop a reputation of professionalism and go-getterism. This is something to take into account whenever you’re tempted to hit the snooze button one more time. Just remember that timeliness is an important office etiquette!

Tip 6: Clear Communication

Find someone you consider a success and ask them what they consider the most fundamental skill for any business is, they’ll answer communication. While you might have a fantastic idea up in your head, if you can’t communicate it to anyone it’s worthless. The ability to communicate clearly with your co-workers is an important office etiquette to abide by in the workplace.

Be deliberate with your words and always think about what you’ve got to say. This can avoid misunderstandings that could have disastrous consequences with people you have to see essentially every day. The ability to clearly communicate an idea to co-worker will make you beloved around the office. Without miscommunicated ideas fouling the routine operations of the office, everyone will be able to go about their work much more smoothly and, as a result of this, office morale will increase.

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