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Workplace Etiquette

Tuesday 25 June, 2019

The simplest way to understand and observe good etiquette at work is to be considerate and respectful of everyone around you.

Here are a few tips:

Make a Positive First Impression

First impressions count and have a big impact on people so it is crucial to arrive on-time and think about how you present yourself. Pay attention to your body language and how others may perceive you; stand straight, maintain eye contact, and smile!

Do your research before you start so that you know the workplace dress code and office policies.

Be Friendly but Professional

What you share with others about your personal life is your choice, but be careful, don’t over-share because things can come back to haunt you! Getting to know your colleagues is a good thing but always be respectful of their space and don’t presume they will want to share their personal lives with you, it can make some people uncomfortable.  

If you need to discuss something with a colleague or manager, don’t just walk in; knock or make your presence known, and always offer to schedule a meeting for later in the day if they are busy.


Communication forms an important element of workplace etiquette, this relates to both spoken and written communication. Sometimes it is not what you say, but how you say it that counts! Be mindful of how you communicate with people both in meetings and one-on-one conversations, always return phone calls and emails in good time.

Work Environment

The values, policies and expectations of your new workplace should be introduced to you on your first day. You can enhance this knowledge by observing others to find out what is appropriate and what’s not, also don’t be afraid to ask questions. Just remember to maintain your professionalism.

Keep your work space neat with only a few personal touches, people may consider your work space a reflection of your personal self. Learn if/when it is appropriate to use your personal mobile and keep it on silent during the day to avoid disturbing others every time you get a notification. Also, it is a good idea to consider others if you are allowed to eat at your desk – food smells may be offensive to others!

Avoid Gossip at Work

Be thoughtful about how you interact with everyone in the workplace (and in your personal life!), how you treat people shows a lot about you. Don’t make quick judgments about people or speak negatively about them - even if you find yourself frustrated over a certain situation or person!

Social Media

It has become standard for people to put everything on social media, but remember that nothing is totally ‘private’ anymore - avoid complaining about work, your colleagues or employer!