July 30, 2015

Top 10 Tips for Proper Office Etiquette

Photo Courtesy of 4C Blog

By Lauren C.

College may teach you the history of ancient Greek civilization or the science of gene splicing, but basic everyday tips and tricks on how to fit into the office culture at your new job are mysteriously lacking. The Tek Team has compiled a list of the best tips for office etiquette from credible sources such as Business Insider and Forbes so you can avoid being the pariah that leaves your food in the community fridge too long.

1. Leave the smelly food at home. Why are you bringing in that special cheese from Norway that keeps your significant other at bay, even in your own home? Keep the food you eat simple and non-smelly, so others don’t have to run and plug their noses.

2. Refrain from too much fragrance. We all enjoy a good scented perfume or cologne, but there’s no need to leave a trail behind you that lasts for 20 minutes. Also, people might have allergies, so you need to be careful with the amount of fragrance you use.

3. Stay home when you’re sick. If you are truly ill, the worst thing you can do is come into the office and get everyone around you sick too. You may think you’re being a brave, hard-working soldier by weathering the storm, but if your boss catches a cold from you, he or she won’t be happy.

4. Avoid holding meetings in your cubicle. If you have two or three people who need to talk about other things, go reserve the conference room, or find another quiet place away from others. Your cubicle mate will thank you later.

5. Dress conservatively. Even if your office has a business casual dress code, there’s no need to wear a short skirt or ripped jeans, especially when you first start. Dressing conservatively will help you avoid standing out for all of the wrong reasons.

6. Keep your voice in “office mode.” When we are out with friends, drinking a glass of wine, things can get loud and boisterous, and that’s great. But in the office, you should respect others around you. Keep laughter and conversation on the quiet side and others will thank you for it.

7. Avoid gossip. It’s easy to get lured into office politics, but keep the gossip for home. Talking about other people behind their back can help you gain a bad reputation, and create friction among co-workers. Remember, you are there to work, not chatter.

8. Keep your cell phone on vibrate mode. Different offices have different policies on cell phone use. Keeping your phone on vibrate is usually a safe bet. Similarly, don’t text throughout the day or surf the net when your boss isn’t looking. The walls often have eyes.

9. Be punctual. Everyone shows up late once in a while, and if there’s a good reason for it, most management will accept the excuse. But showing up late on a consistent basis is disrespectful and will eventually land you in hot water.

10. Keep your space clean. Whether you have a cubicle or your own office, try to keep it reasonably clean. Don’t leave food out (See tip #1!) or have your desk in disarray. You never know who may snoop around your desk one day!

What is the culture like in your office? Do you have any tips or recommendations for using good office etiquette? Let us know in the comments!


  1. I am glad that I mostly is working from a home office! ;)

    1. HI Martin,

      True! There are many advantages to working at home-and these rules need not apply!

  2. I am so happy my cubi keeps his space clean

    1. Hi Anonymous-that is always a plus!