While most of us dream of the perfect workplace, we often do not realise that we ourselves stand in the way to perfection.
Perfection they say is a utopian concept; one can be close to perfection but not perfect in totality. So, what it is that separates those near perfect individuals from the mere mortals? Many believe that one’s attitude and behaviour makes them stand out in the crowd. When it comes to one’s workplace, the correct mix of the both guided by etiquettes can spell success.
How does one define etiquette? Traditionally it refers to the customary code of polite behaviour in society or among members of a particular profession or group. When it comes to a professional set-up, etiquette would be the unwritten and often unspoken code of conduct that guides the interactions among the members of the set-up. While some of these codes of conduct are fairly basic, like greeting your co-workers upon entering the workplace or during meetings, others like learning how to of reply to a mail have gradually gained importance.
However, mishaps in etiquettes often result out of poor communication. While joining a new workplace, it is better for the employee to get a list of all the office policies. It is also advisable to talk to fellow employees to know of any unspoken code of conduct that is better followed. For example, a workplace may not approve of employees smoking within the premises of the office building. Now, this may not be a part of the office policy but is an unspoken code of conduct that can be learnt by talking to your co-workers.
P.S. While it is good to talk to co-workers, avoid talking about them or indulging in gossip.
One important etiquette that borders within and outside office policies is the dress code. While one workplace may allow casual dresses on all days unless specified, it is for you to decide what would be okay or not okay to wear. A casual workplace may be okay with comfort casuals however it is part of the office etiquette to know that this should not translate into turning up in pajamas or ripped denims. While ripped denims may be a healthy fashion statement, several offices do not approve of it despite having a casual dress-code.
The golden words of office etiquette is please and thank you. Never order someone to do a chore by saying- “Send over the report.” It is always best to add a modest please and instead say, “Please send over the report.” Similarly, add a thank you once the chore is done. The same should be followed while writing mails as well. It is considered to be a part of modern office etiquette to check and answer mails on a regular basis. If a mail is unanswered for a long time, apologise and add a brief line as to why one could not reply. For example, “Apologies, was out of town.”
One often unfollowed office etiquette is eating at your desk. While you are at liberty to enjoy your favourite cheese onion burger, the overbearing smell may affect your co-workers. So it is best to avoid food with pungent smell as it may distract others and cause trouble. Although, it is best to avoid eating lunch at your desk, if the same cannot be avoided, always ensure you dispose of left-offers and waste properly and keep the desk clutter and germ free by cleaning regularly.
Another tiny detail to keep in mind is that one should avoid activities that are making noise which can be disturbing to co-workers. For example, tapping your nails on the desk, constant beeps of the personal phone, talking loudly to another co-worker, tapping your foot, etc. should be kept in check.
During corporate meetings or dinners, dress according to given instructions and know what to order. Do not create a fuss over what is available or take time to decide on the food if a menu is not pre-decided. If one does not like the food, take a small portion of a safe option as the aim is to indulge in corporate bonding and not be a food critic. Similarly, know the basic table manners and try your best to follow them. No elbows on the table, constant checking the phone or excessive drinking. Although there may be an open bar, restrict yourself from having too many drinks. If one’s alcohol tolerance is low, drinks are best avoided. Opt for mocktails instead. Lastly, greet everyone before taking leave.