Office etiquette 101: Habits that may be annoying your coworkers
Etiquette coach Louise Fox says workplace infractions like interrupting coworkers and eating at your desk can create a large amount of stress and resentment.
Published Monday, March 11, 2013 9:16AM EDT
Last Updated Monday, March 11, 2013 9:56AM EDT
No matter where you work, there’s a code of office etiquette that should be -- but isn’t always -- followed.
You eat your leftover spicy chicken masala curry at your desk, unaware that a mere cubicle wall away, your coworkers are plugging their noses. You forget to set your cellphone on vibrate and suddenly "Gangnam Style" is blaring from your bag, interrupting an important meeting in a conference room down the hall.
While these may seem like small infractions, etiquette coach Louise Fox says they can create a large amount of stress and resentment in the workplace.
And they can be easily avoided.
"Take those rules that you learned in kindergarten and apply them to the workplace," Fox, the owner of several consulting business including the Etiquette Ladies, told CTV's Canada AM on Monday.
Fox said common behaviours that annoy coworkers include:
• Forgetting to say please and thank-you
• Stealing food from the common refrigerator
• Communicating solely through email
• Constantly interrupting coworkers.
"Don’t just go in and plunk yourself down and carry out a conversation," Fox said, explaining it can approximately 20 minutes to regain concentration.
"If you see someone on the phone and working hard, leave them alone."
She said cubicles should be treated as if they have doors and coworkers should avoid being in each other’s space.
That means not listening in while your coworker is on the phone, oversharing information about your personal life and being the office prairie dog -- popping up over the cubicle to talk to your neighbour.
Another office "no no" is eating at the desk, Fox said, especially when it comes to pungent foods and snacks like microwave popcorn.
"You could be subjecting 36 floors of that office tower to that smell," said Fox, adding that employees who eat at their desk are regarded as less professional, even by others who do the same thing.
And if vexing cubicle neighbours with your culinary delight doesn’t bother you, Fox said there can be 400 times more germs on a desk than the average toilet seat.
Overall, Fox said if you don’t want to unwittingly drive your co-workers insane, use common sense.
"If someone does something you don’t like, don’t do it yourself."