Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Proper Office Etiquette Can Go a Long Way

According to a new survey from Robert Half International, workplace etiquette plays a significant role in career advancement.

The report, based on interviews with more than 400 office workers, showed that more than four-fifths of respondents indicated that courtesy with coworkers can positively impact career prospects. When asked the question, “In your opinion, to what extent does being courteous to coworkers positively impact a person’s career prospects?”, nearly half (48 percent) said that it can accelerate advancement, while 41 percent said that it helps, but that skills play a bigger role.

"In most cases, a minor etiquette slipup won't likely be career-limiting if you quickly acknowledge it and learn from your mistake," Brett Good, a senior district president for Robert Half International, said. "But continual missteps have a cumulative effect that can chip away at your professional reputation and get in the way of advancement."

The survey also asked workers to share the craziest workplace etiquette blunders they’ve witnessed or heard about. Here are some of the responses:
  • “A colleague purposely sneezed in the boss’s coffee cup.”
  • “After asking me a question, a coworker talked excessively for 30 minutes without letting me get in one word.”
  • “Someone thought he put a customer on hold and then used inappropriate language within earshot.”
  • “A person took a cell phone into the restroom while still talking.”
Robert Half suggests four tips on avoiding common workplace etiquette offenses:
  • Watch your language: Bad language, off-color comments and politically incorrect jokes can get you into trouble, so pay attention when you wonder if you should say something or not.
  • Keep grievances private: Criticizing colleagues in front of others or gossiping behind their backs can make you look bad. Address issues with coworkers privately and with respect.
  • Take a break: When irritated by coworkers, take a minute to collect your thoughts before responding.
  • Keep the grooming at home: Don’t do personal grooming tasks at the office, and if you must, take it to the restroom. Grooming at the office can offend your coworkers.

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