You probably learned at an early age that good manners are important. Things like: It’s not polite to stare, always say “please” and “thank you”, and hold the door for the person behind you. All of these rules still apply in the workplace, only now you have a few more to think about.
Good manners show that you have respect for those around you. Workplaces are often set up in ways that results in employees working very close to one another. You might even share a workspace with a coworker. In order to ensure a peaceful and respectful work setting, remember to mind your manners and consider the people working around you.
Here are five guidelines for minding your manners in the workplace:
- Greet people
- Use phone manners
- Follow email rules
- Remember to say “Please” and “Thank You”
- Respect personal space
Let’s take a closer look at what it means to mind your manners in the workplace.
You might not think to say “hi” to every classmate you pass in the hall. However, when you’re at work, it’s polite to greet people as you see them around the workplace. It shows that you recognize their presence and gives them a chance to talk to you if they want. Whether you come into contact with a coworker or a customer, greet them by making eye contact, smiling and saying “hello.” If you know the person’s name, greet the person by name to add a personal touch to your greeting. Greeting customers is especially important because it lets them know that you are an employee and you’re there to help.
Use Phone Manners
Phone usage has become such a common activity that we often forget to mind our manners when using the phone. Just because talking on the phone doesn’t involve face-to-face human contact doesn’t mean we can forget our manners. For example, if someone leaves you a voicemail, you might not respond to them for a few days. However, if the person had talked to you in person, you probably would have responded right away. Get into the habit of responding to people’s phone calls within 24 hours or less.
When talking on the phone think about the people trying to work around you. Make sure that you’re speaking at a reasonable volume. Only use the speakerphone feature if you are in a private area and have asked permission from the person on the other end. If you are allowed to have your cell phone at work, make sure that it is turned off during meetings. Unless it’s an emergency, never check your phone while in a meeting.
Follow email rules
Email manners are just as important as phone manners. As we start to rely more and more on email, we develop habits to save time or for our own convenience. Often these habits don’t take into account the people receiving the email. When sending an email, first think about who really needs to receive the email. Don’t waste people’s time by including them on an email that doesn’t apply to them. Next, fill in the subject line with a few words that tell the recipient the topic of the email. Take care to use correct grammar and spelling, and avoid using abbreviations or the slang form of words. Finally, avoid using special fonts, colors and all-capital lettering. Even though email is a quick form of communication, you want to keep it as professional as possible.
Remember to say “Please” and “Thank You”
You were probably taught as a small child the importance of saying “please” and “thank you.” These little words go a long way, even in the workplace. You will likely have to ask people for things every day. People will be happy to help you as long as you ask politely and remember to say “please.” If you work with customers, you can’t say “thank you” enough. Customers need to know that their business is appreciated, or they will likely look for a different business that does appreciate them.
Respect personal space
In a public place such as the workplace, it’s easy to forget that people still have their own personal space. Whether a person is working from the privacy of an office or out in a common area, everyone has space that they consider their own. That personal space should be respected.
Here are a few guidelines to follow in order to respect people’s’ space at work:
- Knock before entering an office or workspace.
- Never interrupt someone who is on the phone or in a meeting.
- Ask before borrowing equipment or supplies.
- If sharing a workspace, establish rules for sharing everything equally and using the workspace in a way that is fair to both of you.
- Be conscious of where you eat. Avoid bringing strong-smelling food to work or eating it around people who might be bothered by it.
We hope you enjoyed this Workplace Readiness series on Professionalism. Remember that acting as a professional goes a long way in the workplace. When you adopt the habits we have discussed in this series, you will be sure to act professionally and appropriately and boost your overall success in the workplace.
If you’d like to see how our Workplace Readiness program can help your students improve their level of professionalism, click the free trail link below.