Small Business News from 4imprint
One of the great things about the workplace is that you get to meet a wide range of different people. Yet on the flip side one of the not so great things about the workplace can be that you have to work with those same people! Asking people what annoys them about their work colleagues can reveal some surprising answers. Nearly half of employees told recruitment consultant Office Angels that other people talking loudly on the phone drives them mad, with 53% finding shouting across the office to be bad form and 67% thinking that swearing is work is unacceptable.

An office environment where people are not ‘minding their Ps & Qs’ can be distracting at the very least. Employees are happiest, more satisfied and in turn more productive when working in an atmosphere of courtesy and respect.

Here are a few office etiquette basics to think about for your workplace.

  • Email etiquette: Employees feel strongly that you need to maintain a professional approach to work emails with 48% of them being unhappy about smiley faces or kisses at the end and over 70% claiming it’s unprofessional to use ‘text speak’ such as ‘lol’ in emails.
  • Quiet please: Does just the thought of a colleague’s overly loud banter, incessant throat clearing and persistent finger-cracking drive you crazy? When working in close proximity to others, the ‘little’ noises and nuances can be enough to drive someone else wild. A two-fold approach may prove most helpful. Provide ear plugs or earbuds to employees who are easily distracted while encouraging the noisemakers to practice good etiquette – meaning, to turn the volume down on their conversations when it’s time to get down to work.
  • Olfactory offenders: Strong smells like cigarette smoke, heavy perfume or – perhaps worst of all – body odour can be offensive and hard to stomach for some. A friendly reminder to go light on the perfume or forgo it altogether and to practice good hygiene can go a long way – particularly after lunch-hour workouts! A bowl of chewing gum or mint cards can promote and encourage good hygiene, which clients and fellow employees alike will appreciate.
  • Kitchen cleanliness: Kitchen cleanliness is a big one in most offices (& it certainly gets the emails circulated & clip art posters created here at 4imprint!) Whether it’s an explosion in the microwave or a science experiment in the fridge, kitchen mess can be a huge source of discontent. Encourage employees to take responsibility and clean up after themselves. You could also assign employees or departments to kitchen duty each day. A personal stake in the matter can go a long way in making others own up to their responsibility. Tidy the out the kitchen cupboards and issue each employee with their own Travel Mug which they’d be expected to wash at the end of each day. You could even reward your kitchen crusaders for a job well done with a personal gift like a colourful cool bag or something like a tin of biscuits they could share with their favourite, tidiest colleagues!

Remember, employees spend a vast majority of their time in the workplace and it’s easy for people to start to feel ‘at home’, letting their guard down and lowering their standards. A steady stream of respect for others and consideration will go a long way in creating an environment where everyone can feel more comfortable and productive.

Further Reading / Sources
Office etiquette. Office Angels.

Office Etiquette Fail: Things to Stop Doing Today.