Rue 1.0

Etiquette Essentials: Do’s and Don’ts of Workplace Etiquette

Keep the work flowing smoothly with our tips for office etiquette.

Copy: Kat McEachern, Photography: We Are The Rhoads

While we hope you are off on a summer adventure soon, for most, July is spent beating the heat on weekends and freezing in AC-overdrive during the weekdays. Before tempers flare up, here are a few basic etiquette pointers to keep things cool and copasetic in the workplace.

Do respect your coworker’s space. Offices, even if they are cubicles or open desks, should be respected as belonging to the ‘owner.’ Knock on the cubicle door or otherwise announce yourself and refrain from leaning on someone else’s desk.

Don’t default ‘reply all’. Keep ‘reply all’s’ to a minimum and only when the whole group is interested in your answer. When sending a group email where replies only need to be directed to you, consider BCC. Instead, be a good email-er and preface subject lines with FYI: or Response needed: (just keep URGENT: for the most important situations- or try a phone call!)

Do make work-friends. Some offices everyone is close and others are strictly business-only. Do what works for you, but knowing a few details about co-workers’ lives makes it a lot easier to make small talk in the elevator or while waiting for the coffee to finish brewing.

Don’t kth*xba!i. Your colleagues deserve the same respect as clients. Keep the language in emails and other communication grammatically correct (and brief). This helps prevent confusion and keeps you looking professional. Additionally, turn off the caps lock. Beyond an overly-long acronym, it has no place in the workplace.

Do ask before you put someone on speakerphone. If anyone else will be listening to the call, introduce them as well. Likewise if you’d like to record a call, ask first.

Don’t forget that sound- and smells- travel. In an open office, chomping and chewing or reheated lunches can easily grate coworkers’ nerves. While that leftover garlic pasta is delicious, it’s best to not use the communal microwave to heat it up.

Office culture varies widely from place to place (here at Rue, yoga pants are a-okay!) but these tips apply from the most relaxed startup to a downtown corner office. What office etiquette do you think keeps everyone playing nice at work?

*Read more Etiquette Essentials stories over here!

  • Mandy Rye

    These are great! Always nice to remind ourselves of these simple things. xo Big Hugs @ Waiting on Martha

    • Katherine McEachern

      Yes- it’s really just about the simple things. Everyone’s life is more pleasant when the simple things are in order.

  • Page

    Great post!

    • Katherine McEachern

      Thanks for reading!

  • Memo Rogue

    Couldn’t agree more about the use of speakerphones! If the call is private and you simply must be hands-free, get a headset.

    • Katherine McEachern

      A headset is a great idea! Plus, then you can use it for calls in the car- safety first!