Pretty much every news story that makes me go “…WTF?!” is usually a result of some sort of etiquette gaff (hi there, chimney lady!). You’d think I’d be used to it by now, but no, I am not — and I am especially not used to it when it comes to workplace etiquette issues. Happily, though, I am not alone; Reddit, too, is frequently baffled by the number of etiquette gaffs made in the workplace. So you know what? Here. Let’s do something about the problem by assembling a collection of standard etiquette rules everyone should follow at work.
Redditor monkey_n_pig gets the credit for starting the conversation this time; yesterday, s/he posted an AskReddit thread inquiring, “What are some simple work etiquettes that most people just don’t get?” Putting aside the grammatically incorrect usage of the work “etiquettes” here (sorry — once an editor, always an editor), it’s an important issue to address — and Reddit rose spectacularly to the occasion with a thread that’s 5,800 comments and growing. From office kitchen do’s and don’ts to the right and wrong ways to give feedback, here are 15 of the best responses. Even though they should probably all be no-brainers, let’s just take a moment to review them, shall we? Your co-workers will appreciate it more than you know.
1. Don’t be a lunch thief.
And especially don’t be this kind of lunch thief.
2. Replenish the coffee pot if you’re the one who empties it.
It only takes a few minutes to do, and everyone will love you for it. Don’t know how to work the office coffee maker? Find someone who does and learn. It’s a useful skill to have.
3. Bathroom etiquette is key.
Would you just leave it in your own house? No? Then don’t do it at the office.
4. Respect the weekend.
If whatever your question is can wait until Monday, do everyone a favor and save it for then. Our time off has been shrinking enough as it is, so let the office enjoy the time they do have.
5. Do your damn job.
Seriously. Do your work. Don’t make other people do it for you. Aim for “exceeds expectations.” It’s good for you. It’s good for everyone else.
6. Keep the speakerphone to a minimum (if you must use it at all).
No one else needs to hear your conversation — and if they do, then they should already be dialed in from their own phones.
7. If someone is nice enough to bring in treats, share the joy.
Let me repeat that: Don’t be the asshole who walks into the break room and takes five or six brownies. Let’s leave some for everyone else, shall we?
8. Don’t be late if you can help it, but if it’s unavoidable, at least call ahead.
Even if you’re not on a shift schedule and/or relieving the person from the shift before you, it’s still generally a good idea to give a heads-up if you’re running late for something — a meeting, shift relief, whatever. It’s just polite.
9. There’s a time and a place for gossip.
Gathered around the water cooler? Gossip away. Bothering someone while they’re at their desk and clearly knee-deep in work? Save it for another time.
10. Use reply-all sparingly.
Don’t copy every single person at the office if they don’t actually need to be. It’s the email equivalent of group texts, and we all know how annoying those are.
11. Exercise aroma awareness.
“Aroma awareness” is a phrase we should all have in our vocabularies — along with the appropriate skills to practice it.
By the same token, though…
12. Don’t judge other people’s food.
If it’s smelly enough that it’s stinking up the whole office, then yes, you may say something — quietly and gently. But otherwise, keep your trap shut.
13. When giving feedback, do it in the appropriate arena.
Also, criticism is often much more effective when it’s delivered in constructive terms. If there’s no need to make someone feel really terrible about themselves, then don’t do it.
14. Keep it off social media.
You do know how often people get fired for bitching about their jobs/bosses/coworkers on Facebook, right?
15. Don’t clip your nails at your desk.
People do this?!