Workplace Etiquette: Dos and Don’ts

We all have that one co-worker. You know the one I am talking about.

The one who shows up late, talks too loud and who is the centre of all workplace drama. Well here are some simple dos and don’t to stop getting attention at work for the wrong reasons.

Don’t talk too loud

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Dealing with noisy neighbours is one of the many curses of working in an open office space. It can be very distracting and make you less productive. So stop taking personal calls at your desk and be aware of your volume levels. But what if you’re not the problem? How do you tell your co-worker to keep it down without starting an all out war?

  1. Just have a professional and polite conversation with your neighbour. It may be awkward, but this is the easiest and fastest way to make your coworker aware of your concerns.
  2. Ask your manager to speak with them. Ideally, you won’t have to involve management in these minor disputes, but sometimes you have no choice. If your coworker won’t change their unprofessional ways and it’s affecting your productivity, then voicing your concerns has to be your next step.
  3. If nothing is working to quiet your neighbour down, then you may have to resort to relocation. Simply ask your manager if you can move to a quieter area in the office. This may not always be possible, but there’s no harm in asking.

Don’t get involved in idle gossip

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Don’t be the office gossip. The office gossip is the person who seems to know everything about everyone. They have all the juicy details (whether true or not) about all the drama that goes on in the workplace. But engaging in this unprofessional practice can have a negative impact.

“Allowing negative workplace gossip to flourish can lead to a culture of distrust and negatively impact productivity, morale, engagement and turnover – not to mention increase the company’s legal liability”

-Lisa Quast, Forbes

So do your part to shut down workplace gossip. Be direct. When you hear conversations that aren’t appropriate for work, speak up. Addressing this issue sooner rather than later will surely save you more headaches in the long run.

Don’t be a slob

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Dress for the job you want, not the job you have. I know you’ve heard that phrase 100 times but many studies show that the clothes you wear can affect your overall work performance.

According to a study reported in December 2014 in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, men were divided up into two different groups and asked to engage in negotiations. But the twist was that one group wore suits while the other group wore sweats. You know where I am going with this…

“Those who dressed up obtained more profitable deals than the other group, and those who dressed down had lower testosterone levels”

So save your yoga pants and hoodies for the weekend and take more pride in your appearance at work.

Do arrive early

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Most mornings, if you are like me, you would way rather hit that snooze button a few more times then show up to work early. However, there are some major benefits of being the early bird at work.

Skip Traffic

Getting stuck at rush hour is no way to start a day. You end up wasting more time and productivity sitting behind the wheel of your car then you would have if you just left the house a half an hour earlier. Most traffic jams start around 8:00 am, so save yourself the frustration of sitting bumper-to-bumper and sneak out of the house a little sooner.

Peace and Quiet

Most people don’t show up to work before 8:00 am. So if you are an early riser, you might as well take advantage of some uninterrupted time to tackle your latest projects at work. Not only will you be more productive, but you will also have more time to map out your day. You can figure out exactly when and how you will accomplish everything before your co-workers have even had their first cup of coffee.

Impress the Boss

Great work ethics and dedication to the job will not be missed by good managers. While everyone else is coming up with creative excuses for why they’re late, you’ve been accomplishing task after task. And that productivity will not go unnoticed. A study at the University of Washington found that managers “perceive employees that start later in the day as less conscientious”. Even if those same employees worked the same amount of hours as the early risers, they still got a lower rating on their job performance scale. So if you want to impress your boss, show up early.

Do Consider Your Audience and Environment:

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When you are engaging in conversations with your coworkers, you need to remember where you are. At work, you need to choose your words more carefully. Although occasional swearing is okay and sometimes even funny, you have to be careful not to cross the line. Shouting profanities and hurling expletives at people not only makes you look out of control, but it can be a very unsettling experience for those around you. So just make sure that if you are going to drop that F-bomb, that it won’t make you look unprofessional and hold you back in your career.

Do take initiative

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Taking initiative means looking for ways to contribute to your team, department or organization. Don’t be that person who only does what they’re told and nothing else. Take action. Help out when needed. And figure things out on your own. People are busy, especially managers. They don’t always have time to sit down and make a step by step guide for what you should do next. So take some initiative and show your co-workers and boss that you can be a valuable member of the team.


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