The workplace is a space where people from all walks of life and culture come together to work for the same cause. While the diversity in workplaces is excellent for learning about new aspects of life, it could also be a melting pot for tension.
Businesses and professionals alike mitigate the risk of creating rifts in their workplace by following a set of workplace etiquette which fosters a common ground where everyone can set aside their differences and work in harmony.
Workplace etiquette is an unwritten code that governs social and behavioral expectations in the workplace. The significance of workplace etiquette lies in creating a peaceful atmosphere and its ability to promote professionalism and productivity in the office.
There is no global standard of what workplace etiquette should be as it varies for every office. Fortunately, if you’re just looking for a job, starting soon, or already employed, there is still universal workplace etiquette that you can follow that will not only benefit you but everyone else that you will be working with.
Below are some etiquette practices you can follow in your workplace that will help you contribute to a healthy and rewarding work environment.
1. Make an excellent first impression.
When first meeting others in your workplace, a simple smile, handshake, eye contact, and proper appearance go a long way. It would be best if you also introduced yourself as confidently as you can while making eye contact with everyone.
Since you’re new, your co-workers will likely be more attentive to your words and your actions and establishing your presence will let your co-workers remember you as a capable and confident individual.
Make sure that you stay consistent with how you positively establish yourself to others in the workplace. Some follow-up actions that you should accustom yourself to are: being approachable, well dressed, respectful, and willing to help.
Making an excellent first impression puts your co-workers at ease around your presence and sparks your growing rapport as a team player.
2. Establish social boundaries
Naturally, you will form a working relationship with others in your office since you’ll be spending most of your day in the same space. A healthy work relationship entails trust, respect, and open communication between you and your colleagues.
However, a healthy work relationship shares a thin line with sharing your personal life. Trust, respect and open communication are foundations that also build personal relationships. Thus, it’s important to keep subject matters with your colleagues purely professional.
There is also the matter of maintaining a work-life balance. A healthy work-life balance entails that your work is not overruling your personal life. To balance your work and life, you need to establish and communicate your boundaries to your colleagues and boss with how much extra work you’re willing to do.
It may be hard to define boundaries with your colleagues and work at first, but you’ll be able to figure out healthy and effective ways to do so with time and practice. Separating work and work relationships from your personal life decreases stress and increases productivity at work, which is essential for your health and career.
3. Avoid Gossip
Participating in gossip is tempting as it provides a bridge to forming bonds at work. However, other people in your office would like to keep their personal life private as much as you do. If you do not want to be gossiped on, then don’t do it to others!
Fortunately, there are many other ways to break into circles in your office, such as:
- Being yourself
- Being confident
- Talking to everyone
Avoiding gossip makes you a better person and establishes to other people in your office that you don’t involve yourself in any personal matters. By avoiding gossip, you make it less likely that others will gossip about you.
Once you’ve figured out how to keep your personal life private while making healthy professional relationships at work, go ahead and network outside your immediate circle.
The company you work for, whether big or small, consists of professionals from all walks of life and various experiences. Immersing yourself with different people at work will benefit your growth as a person and help advance your professional career.
By increasing your network, you will be exposed to new ideas, perspectives, and opportunities to help navigate your career for optimal success. Keep in mind that networking will entail you to put more social effort into work. Some social activities to participate at work to network are:
- Grabbing lunch with colleagues in and out of your circle
- Attending happy hours and other company events
- Always being available to socialize
If participating in these social activities may be too much of an effort, realize that you are investing in your career growth for the long run. You might even form long-term connections with colleagues who can introduce you to a new and relevant skill or even a unique opportunity.
5. Tackle New Tasks
You may be given tasks that weren’t exactly specified in your job title, which may seem daunting at first. Rather than sulking, take this opportunity to use and expand your skillset or even learn a new skill in doing the new tasks.
Having an expanded knowledge about your companies’ different functions will gear you better for a higher role. Conversely, expanding your skills will benefit your resume once you venture out into other opportunities. Either way, it’s a win for you and your professional career.
Following workplace etiquette is beneficial for your personal life and career growth. As much as you’d like to prove yourself to be a capable and talented individual to your colleagues and boss, you also need to figure out how not to give too much of yourself.
Since you’re not alone in the office, you also need to be mindful of others. Being aware of your words and actions and how they negatively affect others is essential in keeping harmony at work.
Practicing workplace etiquette while navigating around your office and colleagues requires reflection and your insights to be effective. Like with your skill sets, following a workplace etiquette is a skill you need to succeed in your job.