All Careers

Differing Views on Workplace Etiquette

June 17, 2015

Multi-ethnic group of business people meeting in board room.

There’s a big difference between what employees are up to, and what bosses think they’re up to. This is especially true when it comes to workplace etiquette, it seems.

A new survey from staffing firm Accountemps asked managers and employees for their views on etiquette in the workplace. Specifically, they were asked, “Which one of the following is the most common breach of workplace etiquette committed by your staff/coworkers?”

Bosses thought that the biggest breach of etiquette was “being distracted during meetings” while workers chose “gossiping about others in the office.”

This seems reasonable, since bosses would notice that people aren’t paying attention during meetings, and wouldn’t necessarily be privy to the watercooler gossip.

But the discrepancy is important: bosses need to be aware of office gossip, since it can get out of hand and lead to lowered morale. Employees need to know that the boss is taking notice when they nod off during meetings, since it can really hurt their chances of getting a raise or promotion.

In the interest of improving workplace etiquette, Accountemps offers these four tips:

  1. Be present. No matter how many deadlines you’re up against, give your full attention during group discussions. You’ll be surprised how much more effective you are in meetings and conversations when focusing only on the topic at hand.
  2. Avoid the rumor mill. Don’t participate in office gossip; it’s just another distraction that can reflect poorly on your character and damage others’ careers.
  3. Be responsive. Don’t let your inbox fill up with emails or voice mails. Set aside time each day to respond to messages so you can attend to the rest of your workload uninterrupted.
  4. Give credit where credit is due. No one likes a glory hog. Acknowledge those who help you along the way, and they’ll likely do the same for you.

This is sound advice which, if followed, would go a long way toward making the workplace a more polite place to spend 8 hours a day.