5 Office Etiquette to Live By

Avoid foul & offensive language in the workplace

A 2007 study published in the Leadership and Organizational Development Journal by Yehuda Baruch and Stuart Jenkins of the University of East Anglia in Norwich, groups swearing into two types: social swearing and annoyance swearing. The former helps to develop group norms and cohesion while the latter, tends to increase stress for individuals and hinders positive group norms and cohesion, hampering both individuals’ and groups’ well-being. But peppering non-conventional and uncivil language in the workplace can backfire. A recent survey by CareerBuilder found that 81 percent of employers doubt the intelligence of those who swear at work. Your employer and coworkers may not every time you spout off but they are certainly forming an opinion of you that can make you seem more petty and less of a positive contributor to the workplace culture.

Avoid overdoing the perfume or aftershave

Like makeup, tastefully applied perfume or aftershave can help you feel put together. The common wisdom, however, is that your coworkers should not be able to smell perfume or aftershave on you unless they are within your ‘scent circle’ (i.e. about an arm’s length from your body). Unfortunately, when it comes to fragrance, it seems people have grievances to air. An excessive amount of smell can cause “multiple chemical sensitivity.” It’s important to be mindful of other people and their allergies – so refrain from applying intense fragrances that may distract or suffocate people sitting near you.

Be more accepting

Tolerance begins by resisting the impulse to judge others based on their opinion or behavior. You must always put yourself in others’ shoes and consider how you would want to be treated.

Keep your desk neat and tidy

The impression you create goes beyond how you dress up in the workplace. People with a cluttered desk are viewed by their bosses and coworkers as being more neurotic and less agreeable than employees with cleaner workspaces, says a study by the University of Michigan. Moreover, a workspace brimming with empty coffee cups, office supplies, and unnecessary files may also affect your bottom line. A workplace report found that one in 10 bosses see staff members with a cluttered and an unorganized desk as being disorganized or struggling with their workload.

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Priyansha Mistry
Currently editor at The HR Digest Magazine. She helps HR professionals identify issues with their talent management and employment law. | Priyansha tweets at @PriyanshaMistry

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