WHENEVER I get invited to speak in companies, the organizers normally give a major topic to discuss and more often than not, they request to include the topic of business etiquette at the workplace. While it may be interesting to shift topics, a great speaker is able to seque the main issue to the protocols of business without them noticing the transitions.

Etiquette is a set of rules and guiding codes that allow us to apply good manners in different social situations. At the workplace, it breeds a professional atmosphere where there is respect and consideration for others. It allows people in the entire organization to feel good about themselves as they are able to help contribute to peace and harmony in the company. This normally translates civility that leads to better customer service too.

In the business world, there are numerous protocols to follow; and Office Etiquette is a great start.  The workplace needs employees, both administration and rank and file, to be considerate, kind and respectful of everyone, not only to their clients but to their officemates as well. Here are some codes of conduct that are considered common sense but not common action:

Come on time. If you clock in at 9am, you are considered punctual; however, if you come in at least 15 minutes before your official time-in, you are considered a professional. This is true for meetings and interviews too.

Personal Calls. This must be kept to a minimum. The office requires focus on the tasks assigned to you and these tasks must be accomplished well during office hours. Personal calls are at times disruptive especially if it is not related to work.  When engaging in necessary personal calls, keep it short. The caller understands why you can’t keep chit chats during office hours.

Social Media. Employees can do more tasks when they are not distracted with Facebook, Messenger and Instagram messages. All social media apps must be closed during work unless you are a social media manager or an internet marketing manager. It is best to keep cell phones in mute or in silent so it does not bother others at the workplace.

Meals and Snacks. Generally, offices have a pantry where everyone can store their food in the ref, eat their meals and make their coffee and get water. Label your own food before storing it in the ref or leaving it at the pantry. Consequently, common sense dictates that we do not eat the food of others.  Etiquette also means, we clean up and wash the dishes after. It is also important to note that when refilling water containers, do not touch the nozzle of the dispenser with the mouth of your own personal container.

Rumour Mongering. Everyone wants to be respected; and indulging in office gossip is not a good idea to achieve this as it can damage relationships when rumours spread. Instead, when talking about officemates, it is best to talk about their strengths instead of committing slander.

Civility manifests courtesy, respect and consideration for others. At the workplace, when one feels disrespected, it creates tension in the company and these concerns must be addressed. If not, workers are less likely to perform well. These issues must be avoided by practicing proper business etiquette.

Source: Verzosa RF, English for Hospitality and Tourism, 2014, Phoenix Publishing House, ­Quezon City

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