Etiquette at work is about doing the little things well and consistently so that you are treating others with respect and consideration at all times.

workplace etiquette in actionNotch up your behavior by practicing good workplace etiquette everyday. People will notice and it will affect you long term success. Remember etiquette is not something that you know, it is something that you do. This requires commitment to good habit forming practicing and maintenance of established successful practices. Keep this simple list of common sense reminders handy as a way to check in. Ask yourself have I actively demonstrated three of these traits today in a way that someone else might notice? Ultimately the true test is not about whether you have internal understanding but about whether you exhibit recognizable behaviors.


  1. Arrive at work early enough that you can get your blog time and coffee and still be in your chair when the day starts.
  2. Try to anticipate certain tasks before they are asked of you, like finding a report you know your boss will ask for, before she does so.
  3. Adhere to your office dress code. Take pride in your appearance, it matters. Make sure clothes are clean and ironed, that your hair is brushed and the your person hygiene doesn’t leave anything to be desired.
  4. Don’t spend your time making personal calls or surfing the web. It’s not what you are paid to do.
  5. Be punctual throughout the day for breaks, deadlines, your lunch hour, as well as for leaving for the day.
  6. Never gossip about co-workers. Not even for out for coffee on the weekend. Hold yourself accountable, if you wouldn’t say it in front of them don’t talk about your co-workers.
  7. Don’t flirt with co-workers or business colleagues (like clients). Others will notice that you are focusing on your personal life rather than the job at hand, and it won’t reflect possitively on you.
  8. Watch your language. This doesn’t just mean swearing, but also how you choose to phrase or present situations, and the tone of voice you choose to use.
  9. Pick your battles. While disagreements may arise and be solved by level heads, being stubborn or argumentative will get you nowhere fast.
  10. Remember to rely on consideration, respect and honesty whenever you find yourself wondering what is the best course of action in a difficult situation.

The costs of incivility are real. Christine Porath and Christine Pearson outline some of the effects in The Price of Incivility at the Harvard Business review.

Remember workplace etiquette: everyday is an interview for the next promotion, raise, client or opportunity you would like to earn.