At work, I am always amazed by the lack of etiquette demonstrated by many people on all levels of a company. This is true at every place that I have ever worked. I have compiled a list of some of the most rude and annoying etiquette mistakes people make at work, as well as how to avoid making the same mistakes.
Declining to Help Coworkers
Coworkers will ask for help from time to time and it may not always be at a convenient time for you.
When at all possible, you should just go ahead and help as long as you are able. Not only will it give you points with that coworker, but other workers and management will see that you took your time to help your coworker. Your workplace will feel more comfortable if coworkers support each other.
If it is really not possible, either because your own work is falling behind or because your coworker is requesting help with something that you are not authorized to do, take a minute to apologize and explain why you cannot help. Don’t just say “no.” Simply saying, “I’m sorry, John, but this project has to be completed by noon,” or, “I’m sorry, Sue, but I am not authorized to pull from the backroom,” lets your coworker know that you do care about is problem but are unable to help at this time.
Requesting Help from Coworkers
Requesting help from coworkers can be tricky because everyone is on a schedule and has their own work to do. Remembering simple etiquette can help your requests be more successful.
Make sure that you actually need help. If you are able to do something on your own, it is best to do it on your own.
Address your coworker by name, phrase the request as a question and explain why you need help if it isn’t immediately obvious. Remember to say “please.” An example would be “Hi Mary, can you help me move this box, please? It’s too heavy to lift by myself.”
Whether or not your coworker agrees to help, thank them, and complete the task as quickly as possible so that they can go back to their work.
Tardiness may not seem to affect your coworkers, but it can have a big impact on workplace relations.
Tardiness to work can be distracting, and can be annoying when others have to wait on you or when your arrival interrupts work.
If you must be late, call ahead and let your boss and coworkers know that you are running behind with a short explanation. Keep the conversation short and polite. When you do arrive, try not to disturb or interrupt work that is going on.
Realize that tardiness does not just apply to arriving at work. It includes coming back promptly from breaks and being at meetings with coworkers or clients on time.
Clutter is a part of workplace etiquette that is often overlooked. Leaving clutter in your workplace makes it difficult for coworkers to find what they need in shared spaces and can be distracting to clients and coworkers even in semi-private spaces.
It only takes a few minutes after completing a project to ensure that your work area is clutter free. Cleaning the work area shows your coworkers that you care about your workplace.
Bad Customer Service
Bad customer service is an area that not everyone associates with their job, but it is relevant to almost every job. If you work with people at all, you need to practice good customer service.
Realize that your customers include both coworkers and clients. If you work on part A of a project and you need to interact with someone in charge of part B of that project, you need to employ the same skills used in customer service. You are each other’s clients.
Listen to what the customer says and be attentive. Active listening is one of the most important skills you need for good customer service. Pay attention to the needs expressed by the customer.
Speak politely, even when the customer doesn’t. There are a lot of rude people that you may have to work with. The easiest way to deal with them is politely and quickly. The sooner you help them with their needs, the sooner they will be gone. Remember to use phrases like “please,” “thank you” and “you’re welcome.”
Compromise as much as you can. If you cannot budge on an issue, firmly but politely explain why. Instead of just saying “no,” give a good reason. Most people will eventually listen to reason.
There are times at work when you will have to deal with difficult people or when you might have to be the difficult person. Using basic etiquette can help your workplace run smoother, even when things aren’t running smoothly.