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Top Tips for Good Office Etiquette

Working in an office is a communal business, and for a number of reasons you will obviously want to keep on pleasant terms with your co-workers. Nobody wants a tense relationship with somebody they are supposed to be working alongside, and nobody wants to be "that guy" who gets on everyone else's nerves.

It is therefore important to observe good office etiquette. However, as this is not something we all learn while growing up like other forms of etiquette, it can be hard to know quite how to behave. Observing a few relatively simple niceties can help keep all your working relationships smooth and pleasant:


Excessive noise is one of the main things that can lead you to get on the nerves of your co-workers. Obviously this means keep any talk with the people around you to respectable volume levels, and if you need to talk to somebody further away then you should probably go and see them rather than shout across the office.

You might also want to think carefully about anything you eat at your desk. For example, if you are fond of a mid-morning or –afternoon snack and you work in a quiet office, it is probably best not to choose a crunchy, rustling bag of crisps. Try to choose something that can be eaten quietly and is not sold in noisy packaging to avoid disturbing or irritating other people in the office.

Also read5 Top Tips for Working in an Open Plan Office


It is only polite to turn up to work on time. This is partly a simple matter of manners, since this is the designated time you are supposed to appear, and partly consideration for your co-workers who have taken the effort to arrive on time and may have to pick up some slack if you aren't around.

Obviously, being late is sometimes unavoidable and this happens to everyone now and again. However, make sure you do not routinely turn up late, and when you do make sure that you apologise to your manager and to any co-worker who has been kept waiting.

Respect for Co-Workers

It is important you show proper respect to your co-workers at all times, and allow them sufficient privacy. For the most part, this involves some fairly simple measures. Don't stare at their screens at what they are doing, and if you are genuinely interested then politely ask about it. If you need to retrieve something from their desk while they have nipped out, like an important document or piece of equipment, don’t roll around in your office chair to reach for it and rather wait until you can ask unless it is very urgent.

While there is nothing wrong with enjoying a friendly chat with your co-workers over the course of the day, try not to do so excessively. A friendly co-worker who can talk about matters not relating to work is a nice thing to have. However, one who will constantly and repeatedly try to strike up conversation when you are concentrating on important tasks is just frustrating.

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