6 Tips for Workplace Etiquette

Posted by Mindy Tulsi-Ingram on 12th Feb 2024

6 Tips for Workplace Etiquette

The return to in-office and hybrid work arrangements has created a dramatic shift in our lifestyles.

There now is a commute --- or a longer commute for some because of their move to affordable housing. And not everyone is pleased with the change.

There has also been a shift in our clothing and our habits. For the last few years, we have seen participants in Zoom meetings dressed in “work appropriate” tops and shirts, with pyjama bottoms and sweatpants ‘rounding out’ (note choice of words) their attire for the “off camera” zone. It was the “new normal” and we embraced the comfort and individual style options.

Now, as we return to the office, we must trade sweatpants for work-appropriate clothing. What is that clothing, and more importantly, will it still fit with the “COVID 15” (pounds).

Leaders and managers are struggling with workplace / business attire and habits. The office atmosphere has changed to an unpleasant behaviour and attitude as employees seemingly have forgotten how to dress and act in the office.

Office culture has become unprofessional and daunting for management. There is a need to teach or reinforce the ‘soft skills’ necessary for a harmonious workplace.

The terms ‘dress for success’ and ‘dress for the position you want to have’ provided a guideline for office attire in the past. Casual Fridays, once a treat, became the norm and evolved into everyday attire. 

Comfortable workers were happy workers. Right? Over time and with the pandemic, running shoes, jeans – even ripped jeans, crop tops and camisoles were seen in the office, taking clothing options to a new level.

Does your company have a dress code? Do the thousands of new employees who were hired during the pandemic and worked from home, even know what that dress code is? What are your corporate guidelines regarding how to conduct oneself when at work?

In addition to etiquette and appropriate attire, companies need to address other behaviours such as conversational and communication skills, making eye contact, how to run effective meetings, writing professional emails and taking appropriate lunch breaks.

What many may think is common knowledge, some may have never experienced in-office routines, or have forgotten how to interact and behave in a team environment. 

“Sloppy and inappropriate office attire is rampant. Personal habits and respect for the workplace and for others is lacking. Kitchen areas are messy, dishes left in the sink, and there is a general lack of concern for others” a manager was recently complaining.

Whether it be a formal etiquette training initiative, or a review of appropriate office attire and behaviour, it appears something must be done to address this situation. And here are 6 tips to consider.

6 Tips for Workplace Etiquette

1. Take the time to groom yourself and always know you are well-presented, clean, and dressed appropriately for the office – it can be especially important in the event of an urgent meeting. You may find that your confidence and mood will improve.

2. “Please” and “thank you” go a long way. Use these words liberally. Our coworkers and employees need to be happy, and it’s how we acknowledge and treat them, and each other, that makes the difference.

3. Know the importance of suitable office attire. Party dresses, business attire, workout/casual loungewear all have different purposes and occasions. Lines have become blurred over the past few years – be aware of what is appropriate.

4. Watch your language in all correspondence at work - there is a huge impact of business language used in correspondence, emails, and text messages.

  • Consider the appropriateness of text messages and emojis within workplace communications. Know the line between formal and informal business communications – and if in doubt, check if there is a company policy.
  • Know your audience. Be aware of correct spelling and ensure that the tone and wording of your message is appropriate for the recipient.
  • Your email should always have your signature, business address and contact information. After all, you are at work, and your messages should be professional.

5. Pantry Manners - Shared workplaces require that we show respect for our colleagues. Have a mutual understanding of the rules of shared spaces - just like your mother said, clean up after yourself. Go with the philosophy of leaving something better than it was. 

  • Perhaps post some guidelines and rules of pantry etiquette to create a shared understanding and cordial environment.
  • Bring back potlucks and birthday celebrations - communal eating with the right table manners makes it all fun.

Be the champion of champions - be the first to say hello, with a smile, to the janitor, security guard, the postman and to everyone you meet.

Everyone benefits - either as a reinforcement of behaviours, or new knowledge – but the hidden benefit is that everyone is treated as one of the team, on a level playing field, and can excel.

You will feel great, and so will everyone else. Whether you consider yourself a worker, employee, team member or part of any company – You are part of the corporate culture and can help create a culture of gratitude.

Interested? Want to learn more?

The ideas presented in this article were inspired by Mindy’s engagement in the art of strengthening business relationships through the power of appreciation.

In a “Lunch & Learn” or a more formal event or venue, Mindy shares her passion through powerful keynote presentations that ignite her audience to get the best out of themselves and others.

To learn more about Mindy’s seminars on employee care and how to increase workplace productivity. please email info@greenNgreen.com or call 604-689-5027