Office Etiquette for a harmonious workplace

Simply put, office etiquette refers to an unwritten code of conduct employees should follow to be successful at the workplace. They are a set of norms of widely acceptable behavior. It can include good behavior, dressing decently, being courteous and even using office resources suitably.

Office behavior is essential because it allows workmates to focus, reduces stress, gives a confidence boost, tells us what to do, and what to expect from others. Office etiquette is made of two parts, manners and the principles of etiquette. Manners include saying please, thank you, or sorry, dressing appropriately, etc. The principles of etiquette are courtesy, respect, and honesty.

For a harmonious, peaceful workplace, observe these official etiquette rules.

  1. If you are sick stay at home

Coming to work while you are ill might be a sign of dedication, but you can also get others sick. If you must work, stay isolated, cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough, and carry hand sanitizer.  Remember to dispose of your used tissues in the trash. Even though you are not sick, don’t cough or sneeze with your mouth open. A handy way of always having handkerchiefs around is to use them, so don’t lock them in your pocket.

  1. Don’t be late

Whether it’s for a meeting or just work, showing up late is impolite. Time is essential to everyone, so show some respect to others by keeping time.

  1. Dress suitably

Most workplaces have a dress code so ensure that you always dress accordingly. You can add some zest to your attire by using pocket squares, especially if you need to impress in a big meeting.

  1. Clean up after yourself

No one at the office should have to clean up your messes, especially in common areas like the kitchen or lunchroom. Pick up the utensils you use and tidy up. Even your office space should be neat.

  1. Mind your body language

We all have bad mornings and mood swings, but office etiquette requires professionalism even on your worst days. While at work, be aware of your body language even when you are not speaking. If you are feeling frustrated take a time-out to calm yourself down instead of lashing out at your coworkers.

  1. Respect everyone’s space

Not everyone is comfortable with letting others into their personal space. Your desk is your office, and so is your coworker’s. Always ask before borrowing something from their desk and if you can, get your own instead.

  1. Pay attention in meetings

Be there on time, put your phone on silent, and give the speaker your full attention. Respect the effort put in preparing for the presentation by asking appropriate questions and being genuinely interested. You might miss important details if you allow distractions to mess with your focus.


Proper office etiquette is not hard to learn, but it is a valuable skill to have. It can significantly impact your workplace and career. Remember not to point others or make faces when another person is talking. You should also wait your turn before you speak. Interrupting others is considered rude.

Photo credits: Coworking London