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Basic Office Etiquette


Basic office etiquette is all about making sure that the people around you, whether they be coworkers, clients, or building maintenance staff, feel comfortable and appreciated. On an individual level, there are three basic things to look at: how you present yourself, how you conduct yourself, and how you treat your workspace.

Presentation Is Everything

If you consider yourself a professional and want to be treated as a professional, you need to look professional. If office attire is ill defined where you work, aim for the dressy side of the spectrum you see in the office rather than the casual side. Leave flip-flops and open-toed shoes at home, banish bare midriffs, cover any inappropriate tattoos, and make sure your grooming is impeccable. Be aware that in most office environments outrageous makeup and gaudy nails present the wrong image. Avoid using strong perfumes or scents that could irritate others. Don’t chew gum.

What You Do Is Who You Are

Your conduct in the office should be aimed toward making others feel relaxed and valued. If you must come into the office sick, make sure that you cover your mouth when appropriate and have an adequate supply of tissues. If possible, go to the restroom when you have to blow your nose. Be respectful and courteous to everyone you encounter during your workday, even if it’s just the person delivering your sandwich or emptying out your trash can. Rudeness directed at anyone may make others feel uncomfortable. Make sure you put all your electronic devices on silent or vibrate mode before you enter the office. The last thing your coworker in the next cubicle needs is to hear your ringtone 25 times a day. Be aware of the strong odors you may create before sticking popcorn or leftover liver and onions into the office microwave. If you find yourself in conflict with a client or a coworker, strive to resolve the conflict amicably and never resort to yelling or threats.

Remember It’s a Place of Business

Nobody expects your cubicle or office to be devoid of personal belongings, but remember that the space ultimately belongs to your employer, not to you. Family photos, professional degrees and awards, and small plants are completely appropriate, but in most workplaces political posters, religious paraphernalia, and anything overtly sexual or lewd is not. Keep your desk tidy.




New York Magazine
The Ins and Outs of Office Etiquette

A to Z Guide to Manners and Etiquette
Office Etiquette
Office Etiquette Essentials

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