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Bring Manners Back to the Workplace

December 8, 2011

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Lack of manners is affecting employee morale, lowering productivity and generally making the workplace a less pleasant environment. This can have major implications when you consider how much time you spend at work. We owe it to our co-workers to treat them with respect and dignity.

Here are a few of the more common occurrences of bad manners in the workplace.

  • Self-righteous or rude behavior toward co-workers who smoke. If someone’s smoking is bothering you in a shared space such as a lunchroom, be honest and ask them politely to put out their cigarette. If it is the only area where
    employees are permitted to smoke, you may need to find an alternative place to eat your lunch.
  • Of course, smokers need to be considerate, too. If you know that your smoking is bothering someone or the smell of smoke on your clothes may be offensive to a co-worker, take steps to do your part in resolving those issues.
  • Borrowing pens, staplers, tape and other items from a co-worker’s desk
    without permission is bad manners. Taking items home is theft.
  • Hugging, touching, nudging and backslapping is generally considered to be gestures that imply too much familiarity or intimacy. Many people consider them offensive.
  • Addressing co-workers as ‘honey,’ ‘doll,’ ‘dear,’ ‘dude,’ or ‘buddy’ send a message of disrespect because these words are perceived by many as derogatory terms.

Here are some ways you can demonstrate good manners and create a more respectful environment.

  • Say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ frequently.
  • Contribute your fair share to housekeeping duties, coffee funds, treats, and gifts.
  • Be respectful of your co-workers’ time and personal space by not interrupting them with non-related topics while they are working.
  • Don’t discuss topics such as religion, health, politics or personal issues that have the potential for creating tension or making others feel uncomfortable.
  • Don’t view legitimate co-worker questions as interruptions but rather, view them as opportunities to be helpful and professional.

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