Office etiquette is an evolving thing; it never remains the same. The technology we use and the way we should interact with one another change over time. Office etiquette may have one day revolved solely around avoiding bad language, smelly food or playing loud music at your desk, but these days there’s even finer nuances to consider.
Social Media Etiquette
Social media is very popular and there’s no avoiding it. But the way you interact with it during working hours and even in your own time is being reconsidered every day. Employers are catching out employers who are meant to be at work or who are moaning about their job or sharing controversial views, and this means that people are rethinking their use of social media.
Viral emails about other people in the office or inappropriate tweets about co-workers will invariably come back to catch you out, so it’s best to keep such views to yourself and not to share anything that comes your way. It’s also best to avoid using social media in office hours unless you work in the sort of industry where it’s essential. If so, keep lewd jokes, potentially offensive comments and bad language to yourself. You can retract something from Twitter or Facebook, but if someone has taken a screen shot, it’s out there forever.
Unless you work in a particularly exclusive office where staff are employed specifically to bring refreshments to your desk, it really is good etiquette to share the load of preparing refreshments. Some offices go by the simple system that each makes their own, whilst others enjoy the social element of having a tea break together. Don’t depend on either the lowest paid member of staff in the room or the females. Make sure everyone takes their turn at boiling the kettle (and buying biscuits too).
Work Stays at Work
This depends on the industry, but modern business thinking is certainly going in the direction that ‘work stays at work’. Even if you have a brilliant idea at midnight, wait to put it an email in the morning. Try to keep work at work and leave people alone during their personal time. There will always be instances when this is unavoidable, which why it makes it even more important to avoid it when you can.
The most basic office etiquette tips are about respect — treating everyone as equal regardless of their place in the pay scale or their gender or race. It’s about letting people speak and allowing everyone to have a voice, but not having such a big voice that it drowns others out. These rules are universal and whether you work in an exclusive office space Belgravia or a small two-person office in a warehouse, the same rules apply.
Keep social media and the use of gadgets to a minimum and be appropriate when you use them. Keep work to office hours where possible and take it in turns to make the tea. These simple rules for 21st-century office etiquette will help keep the cogs oiled at any sort of workplace.