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Good Office / Workplace Etiquette & Manners

When you start a new job, you're going to need to make a good impression on your co-workers and fit into the existing team fast.

So here are our top 'dos and don'ts' to help you settle in quickly and smoothly...

DO...

  • Ask before borrowing anything.
    Whether it's a biro, a spoonful of sugar, or even a post-it note, ask first. 
  • Wash up after yourself, and keep your desk or workstation tidy.
    Being untidy says 'I'm not well-organised'. 
  • Hold doors open for people.
    Both men and women appreciate this simple gesture. 
  • Respect your colleagues and their opinions... 
    ... even if you disagree with them. Mutual respect is essential for good teamwork. Disagree all you want, but be polite. 
  • Offer to make drinks for colleagues.
    Getting involved in drink or food rounds is a good way to break the ice and be seen as a 'team' person. 
  • Remember people's names.
    If you have difficulty doing this, then one good trick is to write their name down in your meeting notes.
    Another trick is to call them by their name as soon as possible afterwards in the conversation or meeting.

DON'T...

  • Break wind in front of your colleagues.
    It's not pleasant for them and it's embarrassing for you. 
  • Slouch at your desk.
    Even if you're working hard, poor posture will make it look like you're not. 
  • Let your phone ring for ages instead of answering it.
    Also, always turn your mobile phone off in meetings, and don't have an annoying ringtone either! 
  • Get drawn into arguments.
    Disagreements are an inevitable part of working in a team, but don't get drawn into unprofessional slanging matches. 
  • Eat smelly food at your desk.
    What smells heavenly to you could be making your co-workers gag! 
  • Be too familiar too soon.
    A good tip is to ask someone if you can call them by their first name. 
  • Swear.
    You risk looking unprofessional and can even upset co-workers and customers. Keep the rude jokes to yourself until you're sure that no-one will be offended. Even when you're sure the person you're speaking to won't be offended, remember that others may be listening to your conversation. 
  • Put your colleagues or the business down. 
    Even when you're out of the office, if you're with anyone connected to your job, keep it to yourself. That includes criticising your boss or company on Twitter or Facebook. These things have a way of getting back to the people concerned and that off-hand remark could cost you dear.

And when it comes to conversation, be wary that there are certain things that it is always a good idea to keep strictly to yourself.

Complaints about work

If your environment and workload are causing problems, take it up with your management. If you can't get issues resolved then consider a different job. Complaining in public constantly can damage your reputation with your co-workers and management.

The party at the weekend

However good it was, remember that others may judge your ability to do your job by what you get up to outside the office.

Health & personal problems

If you're always moaning about your health or your relationship issues, you risk being seen as someone who is not likely to be reliable or focused on their job.

Your sex life

Intimate details are best saved for close friends outside the office. You risk making colleagues uncomfortable or even offending them.

How much you get paid

This should be between you and your manager or HR department. Failure to stick to this can cause jealousy issues and arguments between your colleagues and management, which you will be blamed for.

Politics and Religion

No two topics are more likely to get people with opposing views at each other's throats. Avoid at all costs.