Professional Etiquette is an important facet of working in a business environment. In the workplace, people understand that there needs to exist a certain type of behavioral dynamic that makes it possible to work harmoniously with others by adhering to minimum standards or norms of appropriate interactions. While there are numerous resources on a wide range of subjects that deal with professional etiquette, in this article we are going to look at, what some would consider more trivial aspects of behavior in the workplace, but which are just as important as the others:
- Let’s begin with cell phones. If a phone call must be taken at the workplace it is considered professional to speak in a low volume and to especially keep the conversation as short as possible. Discussing loudly and boisterously with a friend about the plans for the weekend is not a conversation worthy of attention at the workplace.
- Maintaining a safe ‘phone distance’ is also just as important so as to not make people uncomfortable by being within earshot of a private conversation. A safe distance is generally considered to be anywhere from 10 – 15 feet.
- Put the phone away while at a meeting or a meal. Checking it constantly gives the impression of isolating oneself and not engaging with others around you. This is just another way of being unsocial and is considered rude.
- It is not professional to borrow something from someone’s desk or workspace without getting their permission first.
- There must always be a sense of general cleanliness whether it is doing something work related or not. Even if it entails cleaning up behind oneself at the water fountain or kitchen, it is good to not assume someone else will cleanup behind us.
- Gossiping or slandering at the workplace is never professional. As a general principle it is always better to never talk about someone else regardless of whether it is positive or negative. Personal boundaries are just as important as professional boundaries and apply to one and others around you.
- If a coworker’s behavior is affecting the way you do your own work, make sure to address it directly with the person in a tactful and professional manner. Confrontations and boundaries can be made without stooping to uncivil levels. Making a scene or threatening to complain to the boss is not the right manner in which to handle it.
- Dressing appropriately is a fundamental tenet of business etiquette. Dressing professionally not only helps us to be in the right mindset to work but also allows coworkers around us to be comfortable in our presence. See-through shirts, skin tight clothes and plunging necklines don’t create the right atmosphere for the workplace.
- And lastly, just being nice to people in general goes a long way. While it is important to be professional and formal when necessary, it does not have to be at the expense of basic courtesy or decency. Warm smiles, genuine handshakes and a polite disposition speak volumes of professional etiquette.