Manners Make an Employee

Colleagues being distracted during meetings was the second most common etiquette offense, according to employees.
Colleagues being distracted during meetings was the second most common etiquette offense, according to employees.

You spend up to 40 hours a week (and maybe more) with your co-workers so workplace etiquette, an unofficial code of conduct, can affect both your work environment and professional life. Minding your workplace manners can be tricky though as workplace cultures differ as do the opinions of your managers and fellow co-workers.

According to a recent Robert Half survey, senior managers said the most common breaches of workplace etiquette included:

  • Running late to or missing meetings (34 percent)
  • Not responding to calls or emails in a timely way (26 percent)
  • Gossiping about others in the office (23 percent)
  • Being distracted during meetings such as checking a smartphone or writing emails (7 percent)
  • Not crediting others when appropriate (6 percent)
  • Criticizing other publicly (2 percent)

Two percent of managers said staff and co-workers do not commit etiquette breaches. However, employees had a different view, citing gossiping about others in the office (24 percent) as the most common etiquette mistake their colleagues make. Additionally, 14 percent of employees said their co-workers do not commit etiquette mistakes.

“It goes without saying that you should show respect toward your colleagues, yet etiquette blunders happen every day,” said Michael Steinitz, executive director of Accountemps, in a statement. “Showing up on time for meetings and paying attention when you’re there demonstrates that you value the time and efforts of others. Just being polite goes a long way toward creating a better work environment.”

Manners do not only affect your workplace environment. Sixty-five percent of managers said being courteous to co-workers can greatly accelerate professional advancement, and 33 percent said although skills play a bigger role, courtesy somewhat impacts your career prospects. Although employees generally agreed, they were more evenly split between greatly accelerates advancement (46 percent) and somewhat impacts advancement (45 percent).

Managers and workers disagreed on one question: do people become more or less courteous as they climb the corporate ladder? The majority of managers said people become more courteous (61 percent) while a majority of employees (48 percent) said people become less courteous.

Everyone makes mistakes. Acknowledging and apologizing for any etiquette mistake can go a long way to improving your workplace environment and your professional opportunities.

Katie Culliton, Editor

CalChamber members can provide the Manager’s Checklist to Avoid Discrimination to managers to help them avoid saying or doing things that could be construed as discriminatory, including interviews, performance evaluations and disciplinary actions. Not a member? See how CalChamber can help you.

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