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Manners Matter: Etiquette For Today’s Workplace

Between lengthy to-do lists and endless staff meetings, proper etiquette probably isn’t most employees’ top priority. But good manners can help build relationships and avoid conflict—both of which make the workday more enjoyable. Here are a few tips:

  • Be kind to others’ noses. From perfume you can smell 10 desks away to a tuna sandwich that leaves the office fridge smelling like fish long after lunch is over, be aware of how odors affect others.
  • Treat offices like homes. You wouldn’t just barge into a neighbor’s house without knocking, would you? Whether a door is open or closed, always wait to be invited in. Similar courtesy is needed when approaching someone who’s on the phone or speaking to someone else: Don’t just stand there, waiting for them to be available. Pressuring someone into talking to you doesn’t start the conversation on a good note.
  • Leave it the same way you found it. Use the last of the copier paper? Replace it. Drink the last cup of coffee? Make another pot. You know how annoying it is to have to “clean up” after someone else in the office, so make sure your reputation is spotless when it comes to these courtesies.
  • Say “please” and “thank you.” Some people are under the mistaken impression that these phrases demonstrate weakness or subordinance. The truth is that framing your requests with “please” and “thank you” will earn you respect and (hopefully!) similar courtesy in return.

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