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Top 10 Tips For Good Office Etiquette

1. Be polite. It may sound obvious, but a surprising number of people forget to say please, thank you and sorry in the course of a busy day. The epithet ‘treat others as you would be treated yourself’ was never more appropriate than when sharing office space with thirty other people for forty plus hours every week.

2. Keep the volume down. This is especially true when talking on the telephone, and even more so if it is a personal call you are taking. If you really do need to chat on a mobile, take it outside or at least into the corridor. Never use speakerphone in a communal office space for anything other than very quietly waiting if you get put on hold.

3. Respect privacy. In an office environment, especially one which is open plan or divided into cubicles, it can feel like you are constantly on display. Always make your presence known before entering someone else’s work space, even if there are no physical boundaries to cross. Try not to listen in on others’ phone conversations, or if you truly cannot help but overhear at least don’t comment on them afterwards.

4. Be sensitive about strong smells. Strong perfumes, body odour and whiffy lunches are all a big no-no when you have to share workspace with others. Just because you like something doesn’t mean everyone else will too. Try to avoid pungent food products in the workplace – if you really must eat them then head outside and eat on a park bench.

5. Share decisions about altering the office environment. Even if all you want to do is open a window above your desk, respect the fact that this affects other people too and ask if they mind.

6. Keep your mess to yourself. Even if you find it difficult to maintain an immaculate desk, at least don’t let your mess impinge on other people. Tidy up after yourself in communal areas such as a staff kitchen, and try to contain any mess you do make to your own desk and not the surrounding area.

7. Take your turn with non-work related activities. Be aware of how often you make a round of teas and coffees in relation to others and remind people of colleagues’ birthdays if you know them.

8. Respect other peoples’ down time. If someone is obviously eating their lunch or taking a personal call, don’t bother them with work queries. Ask someone else or come back later.

9. Ask before borrowing. Office chairs, staplers, printers, biros – no matter what you need to borrow, always ask permission – it’s only polite. By the same token, if you do borrow someone else’s chair temporarily don’t adjust it – they will have it set to their own specifications and won’t thank you if they have to fiddle about when you return it.

10.Be on time. If you keep people waiting they will not like you. It really is as simple as that.

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