Coworker Courtesies: 4 ways to show respect
By Rachel Wagner, Certified Business Etiquette Consultant
Successful employees have “strong interpersonal skills” according to Joseph Grenny, co-author of the best seller Crucial Conversations.
Interpersonal skills include common courtesies. However, sometimes it seems courtesy has gone the way of the typewriter. Many business professionals spend 40 plus hours a week with coworkers, often in cramped quarters with little or no privacy. People don’t intend to be rude or thoughtless, but, often are unaware that an annoying behavior, such as loud talking, can irritate and distract others and affect working relationships.
Here are four coworker courtesies that will go a long way in making workplaces a more enjoyable environment for everyone.
- Say good morning. Every office has a bit of a different culture—but it’s a practice everywhere to exchange a daily greeting. So, make it a point to look people in the eye and say “hello” when you arrive or when you pass in the hall. You don’t have to get into a long conversation. Research shows that coworkers like to be acknowledged. It makes them feel important. And it makes you appear approachable and friendly.
- Clean up after yourself. If you have an employee kitchen, put dirty dishes and silverware in the dishwasher or wash them and put them away. Don’t leave them in the sink for someone else to find. (Your mother probably doesn’t work at your office.) Wipe crumbs from the counter and splatters from the microwave.
- Be a good cubicle neighbor. Respect people’s privacy by not placing calls on speaker phone or borrowing without asking. And remember, no phone call is ever private in a cubicle. Make personal calls in an empty conference room or step outside. Limit distractions by not talking over the cubicle wall, playing music without earbuds, or having an impromptu meeting outside someone’s cubicle. (Collaboration is great…but head to the conference room instead!)
- Go the extra mile—it’s never crowded. Fill the copy paper tray. Make a fresh pot of coffee if you poured the last cup. Pick up coffee cups and leave the conference room cleaner than you found it; the next group will appreciate it!
It doesn’t take much time or effort to hone office courtesies. But the results—a more respectful and enjoyable workplace—are a win-win for everyone.
Rachel Wagner is a certified corporate etiquette and international protocol consultant and founder of the business etiquette firm, Rachel Wagner Etiquette and Protocol. She trains leadership teams on the topics of business and dining etiquette to polish their professional presence and the image of their company. Rachel is active with the American Society for Training and Development and the National Speaker’s Association. She is author of a popular e-zine, The Savvy Professional, and is frequently quoted in the media. She can be reached by phone at 918.970.4400 or by email at Rachel@EtiquetteTrainer.com. Website: www.EtiquetteTrainer.com.