There are any number of etiquette faux pas committed in the office setting. Check to see whether you’re guilty of these five workplace sins and what you can do to avoid them.
• Being a “Sunday night emailer”
Many business people like to clear out their inbox from home on Sunday night. That eliminates spending an hour replying to email first thing Monday morning. However, when you clean out your inbox on Sunday night, you dump a load of email on your colleagues’ or clients’ desk.
Now they have to deal with your replies or forwards when they arrive at the office Monday morning. Solution: If you are a “Sunday night emailer,” be considerate. Save those messages somewhere in your email program and release them midmorning on Monday.
• Hovering over your colleagues while they are on the phone.
You want to have a word with a co-worker, so you go to his office or cubicle only to see him on the phone. Don’t stand there waiting for him to end the call. This is distracting and inconsiderate.
Solution: Just catch the person’s eye, signal that you’d like to talk with him or her, then go back to your desk and wait until your colleague either calls, emails or comes to your office.
• Failing to remove your leftovers from the office kitchen
You brought your lunch to the office but then had an invitation to eat out. Your lunch sits in the refrigerator until it turns blue.
Solution: Either decide that you will have that lunch the following day, take it home for dinner or toss it out. No one else should have to clean out your yucky leftovers.
• Using a speaker phone while in your cubicle or in your office with the door open
Other people in the office should not be subjected to your phone conversations. It is inconsiderate of those around you as well as the person on the other end of the line.
Solution: If you have to use the speaker phone function for a call, go to a private location or shut your door.
• Taking your cell/smart phone into a meeting and placing it on the table
Mobile phones should be turned off and out of sight during meetings. Once you place yours on the table, you send a message that you are only partially present. Everyone knows that your eye is on the phone and you are watching to see if something deemed more important comes along.
This is an insult to others present. It devalues everyone around you.
Solution: If you are expecting a call that is so important that you can’t be unattached from your phone, rethink whether you should attend the meeting. Next choice: Apologize and explain why your phone has to be in plain view. There are few phone calls that can’t wait until your meeting is over.
The workplace is more productive and profitable when employees are considerate of their co-workers.
Lydia Ramsey is a Savannah-based business etiquette expert, professional speaker, trainer and author. Contact her at 912-598-9812 or visit her at LydiaRamsey.com to leave a comment, ask a question or learn more about her programs.