Professional Work Etiquette That You Need to Know

Stepping into a new professional environment can be difficult. The most important thing you have to remember is to make a good first impression. Learning basic professional work etiquette will help you with that.

Take a look at the following tips and use them the next time you navigate through a professional social setting.

Professional Work Etiquette 101: 12 Tips To Remember

1. First Step is to Master the Handshake


When you first meet someone, it’s important to introduce yourself properly, as you won’t get a second first chance. That’s why you need to make sure your handshake is firm and brief, as this eludes confidence and politeness. Make sure your hands are dry and clean and always remember to keep eye contact. Know that a good handshake and introduction can be the thing that sets you apart from everyone else, so make sure you own it.

2. Proper Email Etiquette is a Must in the Workplace

Don’t be that person that sends emails without subject lines (no one’s going to read that!) Instead, let the person know what you are sending them or use a question. If it’s your first time emailing someone new make sure you briefly introduce yourself in the email and let them know who you are. Just remember to make your email subject distinct enough so that the receiver can find it in a sea of emails.

Another important thing to be watchful for is grammar. While working hard to beat the tight deadlines, a few typos may be present in the emails. Before hitting the send button you should check your work and proofread to make sure that there are no spelling mistakes.

3. Don’t Interrupt Others During Meetings, Just Wait Till the End


Even if you’re itching to let your thoughts or opinions out, don’t. It is understandable that some objections during the meetings may be very relevant and urgent. However urgent the idea may seem, never interrupt a colleague while speaking. It indicates a lack of respect for others opinions.

If you need to say something, try to get in your words in at the end of the meeting.

4. Be Smell Sensitive at Work

It is very common to carry packed lunch in the workplace. This should be done with great caution since some foods may have a strong smell that affects others. If you do bring an odorous food, try not to eat at your desk if you share a space with other people. Instead, try and find some private room to eat.

Speaking of odors, don’t forget to keep your B.O in check as well. Taking care of your personal hygiene not only demonstrates professionalism, but it also shows you have great respect for those around you. Make sure your mouth smells fresh and always carry some mints with you. Another great tip is to keep some body mist in your office for occasional needs. But try not to wear too much perfume or cologne, as that can be distracting also.

5. Avoid Distractions in the Office and Stay Focused


If you share a workspace with other people, you need to be mindful and refrain from distracting your co-workers. Unnecessary movements around the workplace should be kept minimal or avoided. Habits such as banging the desk while speaking, listening to music without headphones, removing noisy objects and loud chewing should be avoided.

6. Effective Communication is Key for a Well-Functioning Office

If you’re quick to respond to others, you will be the office favorite, I guarantee it. That’s because effective communication is crucial to a high functioning work environment. By effective communication, I mean the following:

  • Responding promptly
  • Confirming with others
  • Careful listening
  • Deliver words clearly
  • Agree to disagree
  • Provide feedback
  • Think before speaking

Overall, effective communication happens if you pay as much attention to others as they pay to you. The goal of effective communication is to allow everyone involved a chance for be heard and understood. This type of communication is great in working environments because it promotes a certain level of respect between everyone.

Luckily for you, there are many ways to engage in effective communication at work. Whenever you talk to your co-workers or employees, be sure that you give them your full attention. Same rules apply via other forms of commutation. For example, if you miss a call from a colleague or a client, be sure to return the call. Emails should be attended to once received and they should be quickly replied to.

7. Be Time Sensitive With All Your Work

Going off that last point, being punctual is another piece of professional work etiquette to keep in mind. This is something that employers and co-workers most value because time is money. That’s why you should create deadlines for everything you do, no matter how small. This will get you in the habit of staying on track and getting your work done on time.

If you’re having trouble managing your time, don’t worry you can practice and get better at it. Start by writing down your tasks on paper or on your phone. Keep yourself on task with timers and be sure to give yourself a break once in a while. Punctuality should be greatly observed be it in specific timelines, meeting schedules or any appointment.

8. Keep it Classy and Stick to the Office Dress Code


Anther tip for maintaining professional work etiquette is to dress appropriately for work. Not only will you look good, but you’ll also feel good which doesn’t hurt your confidence.

Keep in mind different work environments have different guidelines. Adhere to the rules in your office to ensure that everyone is comfortable. Proper dressing builds confidence and it should not be overdone or underdone.

The above are just some of the office mannerism that should be maintained. However, some social situations may be so difficult to deal with and applying professional angle will ensure that the working environment is conducive. Below are the tips on handling some awkward office situations professionally.

9. Be Respectful and Professional Towards Colleagues

Professional work etiquette doesn’t just apply to how you dress, but also how you behave in the office. You may encounter a situation where you feel disrespected by a co-worker. There are a couple of ways of dealing with this, but if you can confront the person yourself, that might be best. Trying to solve an issue yourself first is the adult thing to do, and it makes you look more professional.

However, if you feel that you can’t get through to a person because they’re being too difficult, then I recommend going to HR and seeking out advice. Bottom line, feeling safe in your work environment should always be a priority.

10. Handle Political Discussions in the Workplace Carefully

It’s difficult to avoid political discussions when politics are all over the news all then time. Even though these discussions are likely to erupt, it’s important to keep proper work etiquette in mind. If you find yourself in this situation, make sure to keep your points almost neutral and be respectful of everyone else’s opinions.

11. Be Responsible With Any Office Relationships

Now, this is a tricky situation because every place of employment has their own policy with regards to office relations. If it is prohibited, then that’s your answer. But even if it’s allowed, I would strongly urge against it, and here’s why.

Depending on what type of work you do, dating someone you work with can be a distraction. Even if you manage to stay on task, you should consider how a relationship will affect your co-workers. Will they be uncomfortable? Maybe. You don’t really know how people will feel about your relationship, which is why it would be better to avoid it all together.

12. Be Professional About Office Arguments

If conflicts arise (and they will) demonstrate professional work etiquette by first trying to talk it out. A disagreement between two people is normal, but the key to keeping it from escalating is to rationally discuss the issue in a safe way.

However, if no solution is found or if tensions are high, it’s best to take a break from the conflict and come back to it another time. Whatever you do, try to first resolve the issue yourself and here’s why.

The only reason you should be going to a third party or HR is if something disastrous or serious has happened. Aside from that, it’s your responsibility to come to a resolution: simply, it’s the adult thing to do.

Observing the above tips on work etiquette will ensure that all is well in the workplace. A healthy working environment is what every employee yearns for and you can contribute by making it much better.

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