Don’t Be the Jerk at Work: 9 Business Etiquette Tips

Business Etiquette Tips

You need sharp business etiquette to make a good impression, whether you’re trying to land a job or advance in your career.

Check out these nine tips (some with hilarious videos) to make sure you know the appropriate way to behave in person and online.

1. Start off on the right foot. During the first week of your new job, learn the workplace culture as you navigate the office. Introduce yourself to as many of your coworkers as possible. Get a feel for the office politics and prepare yourself to be the employee you said you would be. For goodness’ sake, don’t do things that could jeopardize your career.

2. Respect others’ property. Snagging a coworker’s new office chair or eating someone else's food from the common refrigerator will only cause conflict in the workplace. Nobody wants that. Be mindful of everyone’s personal belongings. And especially stay away from the supervisor’s cupcake.

3. Put away the cell phone. Keep your mobile devices out of sight during meetings and limit use of them during the workday. In a Robert Half survey, 64 percent of chief information officers polled said that cell phones and tablets are leading to more breaches in workplace etiquette each year. If you need to make or take a call, step outside so you don’t distract others. Otherwise, Pookie Bear can wait.

4. Hit the mute button. When on a conference call, make sure you always remain professional, unlike this guy. Mute your phone when you’re not talking. Be quiet (no eating or talking) when you’re not on mute. This includes before and after the call. You never know when someone is still joining or signing off.

5. Fess up. If you send a confidential email to the wrong person, try to recall the message using your email program. If that doesn’t work, contact those affected and explain your mistake. You may also need to let your manager know. Because of this possible scenario, be careful about what you’re emailing in the first place.

6. Choose your friends carefully. If you decide to friend coworkers on social media, keep your posts professional. Mixing your work life with your personal life will complicate matters for you down the road. Avoid that completely if you can, and don’t waste your whole workday on Facebook, like this guy.

7. Introduce yourself. If you want to connect on LinkedIn with someone, take the time to personalize the message. Your potential connection may think the invite came from LinkedIn’s automated system and may not reply.

8. Stay focused. Letting your mind wander during a remote meeting is easy to do. No matter how uninteresting, make a point of paying close attention during phone, video and web conferences. Otherwise you could miss critical information.

9. Read the fine print. Read your current or future employer’s Employee Handbook to get the scoop on the organization's policies and procedures such as hours, payroll schedule, disciplinary procedures and more. This knowledge could be difference between being a rock star and being unemployed.

Want more? Check out Business Etiquette: The New Rules in a Digital Age and our Robert Half video series, Don't Let This Happen to You.

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