Office etiquette: handle with care

Farting is funny. Except when you do it in the office. There are lots of behaviours that are a laugh at home or out with friends but aren’t good for your career prospects.

Office etiquette is a set of simple rules for getting along with others in the office. We asked some everyday Kiwi’s to share their favourite dos and don'ts for workplace etiquette:

Office etiquette is a set of simple rules for getting along with others in the office.
  1. Oh no. A killer curry or fish and chips taste great. But smells, like sounds, travel. "I love fish and chip Friday, but fish isn't something I'd eat at my desk,” says Suzanne of ACC.
  2. Gimme more. Make work friends. “Be quick to say thank you,” says Julie from budgeting organisation Christians Against Poverty. “Showing appreciation to your colleagues, no matter the size of the task, can go a long way.”
  3. Oh no. Don’t steal Neville’s milk. You may love the Westpac ads with the aging flatmates from hell. But don’t be the office equivalent. “A few seconds to rinse a dish and load it into the dishwasher or replace milk in the fridge if you’ve finished the bottle makes for a much nicer environment,” says Alison of Mitre 10.
  4. Gimme more. Good cellphone manners get noticed. “Open plan offices can be challenging, especially if you’re naturally chatty and loud like me,” says Kate of Gen-i. “Take and make your personal calls away from your colleagues, and if your voice goes up a notch when on mobile, take those calls away from your desk too.”
  5. Oh no. Keep it seemly. You’ve got a potty mouth and what’s so wrong with the f-word? Keep that language for nights out with the boys or girls. Some people including colleagues and bosses are quietly offended by foul language.
  6. Gimme more. Avoid interrupting others. Lucy from 2degrees Mobile says that includes cc-ing people on emails unless they really need to know what’s being discussed. “It’s about considering your colleagues’ time and hoping they’ll do the same for you,” says Lucy.
  7. Oh no. You’re a touchy feely type of guy or gal. We’re sorry. But this isn’t acceptable at work. Keep those hands in your pockets.
  8. Gimme more. Be punctual. People really appreciate those that make an effort to get to work or meetings on time. "In a world where everyone is busy, always be on time. It shows you respect and value other people’s time." says Jodie of n3.
  9. Oh no. Don’t gossip. “Be compassionate to your workmates”, says freelance journalist Diana. Ask yourself if what you’re doing is kind and if it’s necessary. Unkind people need the most kindness.
  10. Gimme more. Be sensitive to other’s privacy needs. Don’t read what’s on their computer screen or ask them personal questions in an open plan office. Your colleagues deserve their privacy.

Remember in a small community like New Zealand your reputation can follow you. Behave impeccably always and you’ll boost your employability rating.