Office Etiquette is a much talked about and sometimes a much hyped about subject and different people have varying opinions on things one should do in office and things one should not do. But there are a few basic do’s and don’ts which we would urge you to follow in an office or a business environment.
Here are 10 things you should avoid doing if you are a fresher
Well I am sure most of you are aware of the basics and are following them very well too. The most common ones are – arriving on time, dressing up well to the office, the use of cell phones, proper attire, non smelly socks and so on. I am sure you do not want me to be telling you the same basics which were covered during the induction into the company.
Nevertheless these above basics are equally important, although they might not give you a great edge, they sure prevent a mistake and if you make a mistake in the basics, the amount of trouble you are in would be that much higher as well.
1) BEING ALOOF AND BEING TO YOURSELF
The office structure is all about the team, how you work together to reach the final goal of the organization. Granted that you are the most important person for yourself and naturally you have to be the priority for yourself. But that is certainly not the way the office is going to look at you as. Of course you are a very important person for the team and your presence is highly valued, it also is important to know how you want to be known by the office. So, even if you are an introvert and don’t like hanging out much with people, I would strongly suggest that you be a part of it, you need not do everything they do or the company is involved in, but there are ways you can stick to being who you are and yet be a part of the activities and see that you contribute for the development.
If you find it hard to talk in meetings, you can send a mail with your thoughts about it, if you find it challenging to talk to everyone at once, talk to someone of authority, maybe the manager and tell him what your thoughts are and what changes can be made, make it clear to them that you are someone who is strong as an individual and are working on your social skills to be in the same lines as the office etiquette. That would atleast help them notice that you are not showing your disinterest to work. More often than not, it is misconceived as disinterest and can work against you. In such a case, it is sensible to atleast give them a clue as to what to think about.
Here is a post which will help you if you are the shy kind and the introvert types and would want to snap out of it:
2) THE USE OF CELL PHONES
Of course the most ubiquitous of all and the most loved devices in the world are the cell phones and more importantly the smart phones which integrate all of your social services to one place. Earlier offices used to block use of social services like FB and chat engines but they can’t do it any more, thanks to the smart phones. But there was a reason why the offices did it and they had an explanation for the same. They wanted to avoid any distractions to your work. Even though no one tells you, you are expected to make a very stingy use of your cell phone.
And even when you talk from your cubicle you need to make sure that your tone is lower and sometimes hushed as well, messaging is preferred over a call, also chatting is considered a serious NO NO. I do agree that it sounds cruel, but a company that is paying you well would try and make sure that they get the best of their resources as well!
Few days ago, we wrote a post on Phone Etiquettte – WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOUR PHONE RINGS which might come in handy here.
3) INAPPROPRIATE HUMOR
Well you may have been known as the funny one, the one with a great sense of humor and the college comedian as well. And humor is a fantastic tool to open people up and develop a relationship. However you do have to be a little careful about the use of humor, as long as it is self depreciating and with a certain class, it is considered cool and also a great sense of humor, but the moment when you point toward a scapegoat, it just makes you appear weak and attention seeking. Humor on your self makes you appear a lot simpler and less arrogant, but when it is the other way round, it can be a little risky for you.
Also, make sure to steer away from office personalities when it comes to humor, you never know how they are going to take it, stay away from the controversial ones as well. There are a lot of ways to keep your audience engaged and humor can get as classy as you want it to.
4) THE CAFETERIA CONUNDRUM
Of course the favorite place in college used to be the parking lot and in the offices it is the Cafeteria. It is one place where you get to unwind, you can find your team mates in the most relaxed zone and the best time for an informal chat. However do ensure that you don’t over stay your welcome at the cafeteria. You don’t want to be known as the cafeteria boy/girl. Use it well, gel with people who you would like to know, smile at them and keep it pretty simple.
5) RELATIONSHIP WITH THE TEAM
Your team will be the most important structure for you, your team mates matter a lot. There is a performance review mode called a 360 review where everyone you are associated with gives you a review and tell their opinion about you and this record goes to the the HR or the management which is further going to decide your pay hike or promotions within the office. It is best to be known as a team player and it is best to keep your team in good humor.
You might have great friends outside the team and you might have a ball of a time with them. However that should not come in the way of your work time or the time with the team which is going to be a crucial part in your review.
6) RELATIONSHIP WITH THE MANAGER
Well, it is always said – “Know your boss to be a good employee and know his boss to be a great employee”. If you want to be noticed in an organization and you don’t want your achievements being sidelined, make sure that your boss’ boss knows about you. Whenever you get an extra credit or a great feedback from your client or there is a considerable achievement, make sure the top boss knows about it. This is not about being sly, it is about marketing yourself at your best.
You can do it through several ways, maintain a relationship with the top boss, copy him on your mails to immediate lead when you have an accomplishment to show, let your manager know that you enjoy a good relation with the top boss. None of these is to manipulate your manager or your immediate lead, it is just to ensure that you don’t have an unfair treatment meted at you. And during your review, all of these is going to come in handy.
7) THE BULLY MANAGER
Well, we all have this one person we hate in our office. And if the office is large, we usually have more than one person we hate. No matter what we say about a flat organization and a perfect system, unfortunately there will be those bad eggs who will try and take advantage of their position and bully you in the process. Our advice to that is- Don’t let them bully you.
If you feel that they are giving more work than you can handle, then send a mail to him telling why exactly it is going to be challenging. Don’t tell them you can’t do it, tell them that you have X,Y and Z things and the time allotted is T and you can do only that much. Also tell them that you are willing to do overtime to finish it off and ask his suggestion as to how to go about it. I know that we are making you feel a little docile, but stay with me – there is a slight trick up our sleeve as well. Make sure that you copy his boss on the mail if this becomes a repetitive process.
However you need to be very careful that you don’t appear as someone who complains a lot, you just have to be a little smart about it 🙂
8) TIME MANAGEMENT
This would of course be one of the most challenging part in your office life. People and esp managers love someone who can manage their time very well and it is one of the most sought after skills no matter what kind of employment you are looking at. Make sure that you adhere to the deadlines offered. If you are having too much on your plate, outline a plan with the priorities and tell your immediate supervisor how you are going to tackle it and the order and ask him if he has any suggestions to make it better. People love giving an advice and hate a person who constantly complains. So… Don’t complain, ask for a suggestion instead!
9) OFFICE PARTIES
Alright, again the basics – Don’t be a drunk, don’t hit on women, don’t make a fool of yourself and so on and so forth. Just know that it is an opportunity to meet more people and everyone will be there. You need to be known for the good reasons and not the bad ones. So, it pays to be a little cautious.
10) THE PERSONAL/PROFESSIONAL BARRIER
We all rate our personal lives over our professional life and rightly so. I would not recommend someone being married to his computer. Life is a much larger structure indeed. Make sure that you maintain that balance, you are with the office as long as you are in the set up. Leave your office behind when you get home, watch some TV, talk to a friend, catch up on a beer… Don’t let your office follow you wherever you go.
Remember that of the 5 segments of your life – Physical, emotional, social, professional, financial – Office is just one part of it and just one part only, it is not the whole and sole of your life. You are a little more important than that!