Workplace Professional Etiquette

by George N. Root III; Updated September 26, 2017
Business people having lunch outdoors

A collection of sometimes common-sense rules and protocols regulating interpersonal conduct, workplace professional etiquette demonstrates respect and courtesy to your co-workers and managers, as well as customers, clients, and vendors. In many respects, professional etiquette is nothing more than good manners adapted to the workplace. When you have a good command of professional etiquette, you are usually able to work well with virtually any employee in the company

Phone

Using the phone in a open cubicle environment can be difficult, but there are a few etiquette tips you can use to help make it easier on you and your co-workers. If you know your call will be a long one, and possibly a confrontational one, then take it into a conference room if you can. Keep your voice at a personal speaking volume, and be mindful of your voice if you feel emotions starting to rise during a call. Make personal calls on your cellular phone either outside or in a conference room.

Hygiene, Grooming, and Appearance

Qttending to personal hygiene practices like showering regularly, brushing your teeth and attending to your hair and fingernails don't only protect your health, they demonstrate respect for those you work with, as does presenting a professional appearance. If your company has a dress code, understand and follow it; if it doesn't, follow the lead of others in your department. Even in the most casual environment, you can present a professional appearance by wearing clean clothes, pressed if appropriate. Colognes and perfumes should be muted and understated, and you should avoid those that are known to offend some.

Meetings

Arrive at meetings a couple of minutes early and be seated and ready to start on time. Remain for the entire meeting unless you have an urgent matter to attend to. Follow the meeting's agenda and avoid making disruptive comments or asking questions that are so detailed or unique to your situation that they take the meeting off-topic. Likewise, don't use a meeting to air disagreements - take them up privately afterward. In general, comments or questions that call more attention to you than to the meeting's agenda are unprofessional.

Conversation

The personal conversations that sometimes arise in an office environment are an inevitable part of working together, and they're not unwelcome. Nevertheless, your attitude should be that you're in the workplace to work, not chat. Conversations that exceed a couple of minutes in length start to interfere with the job, and should be continued on a break or over lunch. Be mindful of conversational tones of voice, and if you become angry or feel like shouting, your're nearly always better off leaving the office for a few moments to regain your composure.

Clients, Vendors and Business Partners

When you meet with clients or vendors, always pbserve a high degree of professional etiquette. This doesn't mean be stodgy or stiff; instead, it has to do with being concerned for their comfort and treating them with respect. When a client, business partner or vendor arrives for a meeting, for example, always offer them a refreshment - coffee, water, soft drink, or whatever. If it's the visitor's first time in your offices, someone should escort them to the meeting room or your office instead of trying to give verbal directions. If you're hosting a meeting and providing lunch or snacks, find out if your visitors have any dietary concerns, and then remember and follow them.

About the Author

George N. Root III began writing professionally in 1985. His publishing credits include a weekly column in the "Lockport Union Sun and Journal" along with the "Spectrum," the "Niagara Falls Gazette," "Tonawanda News," "Watertown Daily News" and the "Buffalo News." Root has a Bachelor of Arts in English from the State University of New York, Buffalo.

Photo Credits

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