Office Etiquette

Neil Chivers

January 8, 2019


Starting a new job can be scary and ‘office etiquette’ may be a term that conjures up some sort of frightful formality. In reality it’s a term that goes down incredibly well with colleagues in the workplace and can make the difference when it comes to your office relationships and ultimately, your working life.

From your first morning coffee, to logging off at the end of a long day, here are some simple tips to help you get to grips with office etiquette.


Initiate conversation

When you walk into the office, say hello to your fellow colleagues or ask them how they are. Aside from potentially making someone’s morning, it can set up introductions nicely and give you a lift too, setting you up for a positive day.

Offer to do the tea run

‘Can I get anyone a cup of tea?’ is single-handedly the most appreciated question in any office environment. Aside from showing thoughtfulness, taking on the tea run a couple of times each week will make you a very popular colleague indeed.

Be on time

Being punctual is ultra-important in the workplace and attending that morning meeting at the required slot shows respectfulness towards your colleagues, and their time. There is nothing more frustrating than waiting around for the same old colleague to attend the weekly team meeting or reach their desk in the morning.

Mind your manners

You may need to channel mum and dad for this one. Please and thank you go a very long way in the working world and good manners will always be remembered.

Respect others privacy

Barging into someone’s office or invading someone’s desk space isn’t the best way to show respect and can quickly earn a negative reputation. Likewise, sticky fingers can get you into trouble. Nobody likes a pen thief.

Keep it down

Pen chewing, treating your keyboard like an enemy and bubble gum blowing are all considered office annoyances and can affect your co-worker’s concentration. Likewise, yelling in the office is generally considered a no-no, so if you need to speak with a colleague, pop over to them or drop an email. Don’t shout across your desk.

And yep.. the same applies to email conversation. WRITING IN ALL CAPITALS CAN BE SEEN AS YELLING.


Make a mess

It can be easy to make a mess in the workplace but when it comes to communal areas, ask yourself this, would you leave a crusty porridge bowl, empty yoghurt pot or dirty teaspoon strewn across your kitchen side at home? Or leave the milk out all day?

If the answer is no, then don’t do it at work.

Take personal calls

You might have had the best evening ever with Dave last night or really can’t wait for Barry and Laura’s wedding at the weekend but not everyone needs to know. If it really can’t wait, take personal conversations into a separate room and where possible, put your phone on silent or vibrate.

Give too much away

Gossiping at work is an easy thing to do but it can quickly spiral, leaving you with a less than desirable reputation. It’s important to keep private information just that, which means no salary speak and hard as it might seem sometimes, leave the colleague chat for your own time.

Treat the office like your own restaurant

There’s always one. Be it haddock, boiled eggs or the stinky waft of today’s special that creates an unbearable smell for the rest of the office. It may be best to leave the fish at home.

It’s a good idea to practice office etiquette between 9-5. Aside from boosting workplace happiness, they can also encourage productivity, so get into the habit of adopting these tips and watch your work (and relationships) flourish.

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