8 Ways to Mind Your Office Manners
Allison Ford | Divine Caroline
It seems like there’s one in every office … one person who engages in baffling, inexplicable, or sometimes downright rude behavior. There’s the woman who talks on her cell phone in the bathroom every day, the man who microwaves noxious leftover fish, or the girl who leaves her personal papers on the copier glass.
Work is the place where we spend most of our time, but we don’t really get to choose whom we spend that time with. Some coworkers are courteous and fun, while some are so obnoxious that we tell stories about them years later, like my boss who used to have his briefcase messengered to his house because he was too lazy to carry it on the train.
Most people at any place of business are just trying to do their work and get through the day with the minimum amount of drama. To ensure that the water-cooler conversation stays focused on last night’s episode of Lost and not on you, avoid these cringe-worthy behaviors.
1. Don’t Trash the Kitchen
When everyone shares common areas, such as a kitchen, it’s everyone’s responsibility to keep them tidy. So don’t be the person who leaves dishes soaking in the sink, leaves crumbs all over the counter, or allows last week’s lunch to sit in the refrigerator and turn into next week’s science experiment. If your office has a dishwasher, there’s no excuse for leaving utensils out on the countertop. Unless you enjoy receiving notes about your sloppy habits from your ticked-off colleagues, clean up after yourself.
2. Leave Your Personal Life at Home
As long as your office permits it, it’s natural to take a few personal calls during the workday, or to occasionally use the shared printer to print out a recipe or an interesting article from the Internet. Just don’t make your cubemates listen to extended phone conversations with your spouse, or litter the equipment area with printouts of your vacation pictures and faxes from your doctor’s office. To your coworkers (and your boss), it can seem as if you spend more time on personal business than you do actually working.
3. Don’t Make Yourself at Home
Every office has its own level of formality and its own set of unspoken rules of decorum, but some things are non-negotiable. It may be okay to toss off your stilettos while you’re working at your desk, but don’t walk around the office barefoot. The dress code might be casual, but that doesn’t usually expand to include pajama pants or Crocs. Don’t pick your teeth with a business card or clip your nails at your desk, either. Even in a casual office environment, there are some things people just don’t want to see.
Next Page: Stay Off the Cell Phone →
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