Top 5 Workplace Etiquette Breaches in an Open Office

By Robert Half August 5, 2014 at 4:30pm

When finance and accounting employees were asked to name the biggest breach of workplace etiquette, what did they say? Well, if you work in an open office space and want to stay on good terms with your finance and accounting colleagues, consider keeping your phone calls private.

In an Accountemps survey of more than 450 employees from around the U.S., speakerphones and loud voices definitely topped the list of offenses. 

"Open office spaces foster better collaboration, but employees should make sure their actions aren't keeping others from doing their jobs," says Max Messmer, Accountemps chairman and CEO.

What else makes the list of workplace etiquette breaches?

  • Loitering or talking close to a coworker's desk
  • Eating food in the office that have strong odors
  • Keeping a messy desk and cluttered workspace
  • Leaving the phone ringer on loud

Courtesy's effect on careers

Do you commit any of these work etiquette offenses? Better shape up, or your career could suffer.

More than eight in 10 (85 percent) survey respondents said being courteous to coworkers has an impact on a person’s career prospects.

However, something must change as people climb the corporate ladder, because 70 percent of workers said they believe people become less courteous as they advance in their careers.

Older workers who were surveyed, it seems, are less likely than younger workers to perceive that courtesy wanes as the ladders get climbed.

New rules for a digital age

Besides eating, talking on the phone and making a mess in the office, there's a slew of tech etiquette protocols. New rules apply to everything from social media to email, mobile devices and web conferencing.

Download our guide to read about how to avoid the embarrassing blunders.

Also, see these Robert Half videos from the series, "Don't Let This Happen to You."

Finally, check out the etiquette survey findings in the infographic below:

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