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What is Workplace Etiquette?

Workplace etiquette encompasses the unwritten social norms and professional behaviors expected in a work environment. It's about respect, communication, and courtesy, ensuring a harmonious and productive atmosphere. From punctuality to dress code, it shapes positive interactions and collaboration. How does it evolve with changing work cultures? Join us as we explore the nuances of modern workplace etiquette.
B. Miller
B. Miller

Workplace etiquette refers to proper behavior in the workplace, for making the environment where people work a polite, respectful, pleasant place to be. This etiquette may differ in various working environments, and many companies will have specific guides to workplace etiquette and business conduct that they expect from their employees. Examples of etiquette in the workplace might include addressing coworkers politely, refilling the printer or copier with paper if it is empty, or keeping one's workspace clean and free of materials that could be offensive to others.

In general, workplace etiquette is based on respect for others. Treating others kindly, politely, and with respect is one of the single most important aspects of any kind of etiquette, not just at work. Some examples of this include listening when other people are speaking without interrupting, not checking messages during a meeting, only contributing to a conversation or meeting if there is something worthwhile to add, and recognizing when other people may need help and offering assistance.

Workplace etiquette can include adhering to dress codes.
Workplace etiquette can include adhering to dress codes.

If an error or a mistake is made, admitting it and offering an apology is another important aspect of workplace etiquette. Simple signs of respect for coworkers, such as not eating someone else's lunch or taking something off another's desk without asking are important to keep in mind as well. People should never tell offensive jokes at work; beyond poor etiquette, this can be considered a form of harassment, depending on the subject of the joke.

Sometimes workplace etiquette involves creating a pleasant environment to work in.
Sometimes workplace etiquette involves creating a pleasant environment to work in.

Adhering to a workplace dress code is another type of workplace etiquette, even if it seems pointless. The dress code is in place for a reason, and it is helpful for everyone if all of the employees adhere to it. Office relationships should be avoided as a general rule, and many offices have specific regulations against them, but if such relationships are allowed, they should not be flaunted.

Workplace etiquette can involve the etiquette used when working with an outside client.
Workplace etiquette can involve the etiquette used when working with an outside client.

Taking responsibility for one's own work is necessary as well. Everyone gets distracted at work and browses the web sometimes, but time spent at work should generally be spent working. Personal phone calls and web browsing should be kept to a minimum. Projects should be completed by their deadlines and only extensions requested only if it is absolutely necessary.

Personal phone calls or browsing should be avoided during the work day.
Personal phone calls or browsing should be avoided during the work day.

Any additional rules for workplace conduct should be included in a workplace manual. Although it may be an employee's right to question a rule, unless that rule is changed, it is a sign of respect for other people to follow the rule even if the employee disagrees with it.

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Discussion Comments

anon189818

The world will not end because of it. Businesses always get run down to the ground eventually, merged, etc. It's all a pointless endeavor working in corporations. Study medicine, dentistry. Something that is going to enrich peoples lives. Don't be a numb-headed idiot who only sees the world as numbers and a set of predefined 'logically-molded' HR diarrhea.

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    • Workplace etiquette can include adhering to dress codes.
      By: Robert Kneschke
      Workplace etiquette can include adhering to dress codes.
    • Sometimes workplace etiquette involves creating a pleasant environment to work in.
      By: Andres Rodriguez
      Sometimes workplace etiquette involves creating a pleasant environment to work in.
    • Workplace etiquette can involve the etiquette used when working with an outside client.
      By: Picture-Factory
      Workplace etiquette can involve the etiquette used when working with an outside client.
    • Personal phone calls or browsing should be avoided during the work day.
      By: Elenathewise
      Personal phone calls or browsing should be avoided during the work day.
    • Etiquette in the workplace is generally based on respect for others.
      By: Tanusha
      Etiquette in the workplace is generally based on respect for others.