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  Office Etiquette - office etiquette

It could be your first job or your first day in a new environment, how would you behave, how would you like to dress? You got to remember whatever you do, all eyes will be on you.
Well here are few tips you can use to your benefit.

Get to work on time
While this might sound trivial, the fundamentals are that you should be at your desk and ready to work at the time your shift starts. While everyone understands that once in a while you could be caught in a traffic jam, just make sure you turning up late doesn’t turn into a habit.

Never under-dress
Ask around, check out what’s acceptable and not. While some offices demand a formal attire, casuals are acceptable in most offices nowadays. Your colleagues and co-workers shouldn’t feel that you have dressed too casually. Also keep yourself updated with the latest reforms in fashion for parties and weekends.

Try to keep your voice down
Most offices have cubicles as a work space; your sharing is always interesting for the other person, right? Wrong. The occasional laughing or cursing fits you throw can be extremely disruptive to your co-workers. Not only do they get enlightened with things they never wished, but also get disturbed in their normal routine.

Stay away from office gossips
There’s a fine line between polite conversations and down right nosiness. We guess you don’t want to get caught in the firing range of all the back stabbing and never ending office gossips. Staying away from all this will ensure you work with a proper frame of mind.

The office phone’s not a PCO
While most people blatantly use office phones calling everyone and anyone they know, it’s simply not right. Do limit your personal phone calls. There’s a difference in using the office phone in making an important appointment and calling your buddy and chatting for hours.

Leaving on time
It’s perfectly Ok to leave on time, simply don’t shut your computer down and sit by your desk waiting for the hour to strike. People notice these actions and it’s not appreciated. Make a point to leave after your scheduled time.

And if this is not your first ‘real’ job, and you are guilty of breeching any of the above tips, you definitely need a refresher course in office etiquette.



Most people need a constant reminder that the workplace is not their personal apartment. So the next time you feel like making your presence known or felt, just watch the way you do it.

Here are few tips on how you can ensure no one feels you’re a pain at work.

Keep a tab on the volumes
While most workplaces allow their employees to listen to music as they work, make sure you’re humming or singing or choice of music doesn’t irritate the person next to you. A most common nuisance is the jarring volumes on your mobile phones. Set a pleasant ring tone on your mobile and at a level not too loud. Watch your volume even when you are thinking aloud or plainly rapping your fingers on your desk.

Watch those crumbs
After eating make it a point to clean up. Wipe up the crumbs and spills. Laying out paper napkins for your dining space will help in keeping the dining table clean. Don’t forget to put all wrappers and other wastes in the lunchroom garbage after you’ve finished. No one likes to eat in a dirty dinning area.

Hygiene habits
Make it a point to flush the toilet after use. Your crusade against water conservation should not result in others dying of stench. Simple things such as keeping the toilet floors clean, using the toilet bin go a long way in maintaining a clean and hygienic space.

Respect personal space
Don’t force your partner to draw enemy lines. Respect your colleagues’ space. Do not clutter. Put your personal stuff in drawers or cabinets. Also make it a habit of not peeping into your colleagues’ workspace. What they do is extremely confidential.

Leave a word about your whereabouts by jotting down or pinning a note to your desk. Leave a word where you are with those who need to know. Remember your colleague isn’t your secretary to take your messages.


Of Handbags & Briefcases

Ever been to lunch or a meeting, and wondered where to keep your handbag or briefcase?
Avoid fidgeting. Use these guidelines:

• At a meeting, place on the table only those writing materials, documents or folders that are essential. Samples, etc. can be produced at an appropriate time.

• At a social meal, nothing other than your food, your crockery and cutlery, and table decorations go n the table. If it’s a business meal, you may keep essential papers on the table, but remember this is not your office, and avoid a paper-spill over.

• Handbags and briefcases go on the floor, by the side of your chair. Cell-phones, which should either be shut off, or put in a silent/vibrator mode, should be in your bag or pocket, out of sight.

Tired Of Running Errands For Your Boss?

In an ideal workplace, the boss never asks a subordinate to do any personal work for him. Reality, however, is very different. Here’s how to deal with demanding bosses.

• If you are asked to do your boss’s personal chores and telling him outright that you can’t is beyond the limits of your courage, try putting it off and citing pressing office work as reason. Faced with this tactic a few times, even an insensitive person will take the hint.

• Another method is to tell him, in a casual manner—preferably away from the office environment, that official work doesn’t give you time to do any personal chores. He might not be thrilled about it, but a mixture of diplomacy and firmness should convince him.

• As a senior executive, don’t ask your juniors to run errands for you. You know they have a right to refuse, but you also know chances are they will not. Resentment doesn’t make for the best work environment!

Getting Your Fax Right

Yes, there is faxing etiquette as well, which is a very important aspect of business communication.

• When sending a fax, always include a cover sheet specifying whom the message is meant for.
• Type your message whenever possible. If you have to write it out, use capital letters.

• Corrections made using correction fluid show up as dark blotches, so make a photocopy, and use this to send the message.

• Many people receive their faxes on a computer, so make sure the paper is inserted the right side up. If it isn’t, the message can’t be read unless it’s printed out!

• Remember fax paper is expensive; don’t send out unnecessary or needlessly long messages. Also, call and check if the timing is convenient before sending out very long fax messages.

• Don’t fax personal or confidential messages unless you intend it to be office gossip. If such information has to be sent, do call ahead and inform the recipient so that he can personally retrieve it.

Cards And Gifts

During the festive season an integral part of the fun and frolic is exchanging greeting cards and gifts while celebrating. Here are a few tips on card and gift exchange protocol for business purposes.

• Your office will most certainly have rules covering gifts. Find out what they are. If protocol forbids the giving or receiving of gifts above a certain monetary value, follow it strictly.
• Avoid sending intimate gifts. If you are sent anything inappropriate, promptly return it with a polite but firm note of refusal.
• Include a small line of greeting, good wishes, or appreciation when you send out cards. If your greeting card list runs into hundreds or thousands of names, sort them into ‘personal note’ and ‘signature only’ categories. If you can’t sign the card, don’t send it.

• Always acknowledge greeting cards and gifts sent to you. Write your thank you notes, and make those calls of appreciation promptly


Are You Contributing to The Spam Menace?

Would you give strangers personal information about your friends? No? Now stop and think how often you might have done exactly that every time you sent out or forwarded emails.

• If you send forwards, don't splash the recipients' addresses all over the page for all and sundry to see; you never know where an email will end up! Type your own name in the 'to' field, or leave it empty. Enter your recipients' names in the BCC (blind carbon copy) field.
When you receive an email, it might come with a long list of email addresses already in it. Clean up the mail before you hit 'forward'. The easiest way to do this is to cut and paste just the message.

Handling Errant Colleagues?

If something can go wrong, it will! (Murphy’s Law) Unfortunately, faulty services and products are an inescapable part of life, and the best way to deal with them is not to pretend they don’t exist, but to complain, in an effective manner.

• Making a complaint about a person, especially someone you interact with on a regular basis, is a sensitive issue, so be careful how you handle this.
• Target the behaviour, not the person. Discuss the issue with him first. If there is no change or clarification, then go to the appropriate higher authority.
• At a restaurant, if sending back food, do so while there is more than just a spoonful left in the dish! If you have to complain about inedible objects in your food, or about poor service, do it quietly and discreetly, away from your guests.
Make complaints promptly. Keep records of letters, of whom you speak to and what kind of action is promised. Be firm and follow up on them patiently. If nothing works, find out who the highest authority in the organization is, get his contact information, and threaten to complain to him. This always gets results!

Awkward At An Office Party? Exercise These Rules

Many offices organize annual spouses-included get-togethers, towards the end of the calendar year. Here are some tips to make the occasion memorable for all the right reasons.

• Dress appropriately - this means you dress a little more formally and discretely than you would at a similar social event.
• The invisible other? Don’t treat your spouse or the spouses/companions of your colleagues as if they were invisible. Include them in your conversation which should not revolve around just talking shop.
• Circulate – don’t spend all evening with your office lunch clique. Work the room; introduce yourself, and talk to others in different departments, at levels above and below you.
• Letting spirits, festive or otherwise, go to your head has an annoying way of rebounding on you. Keep your hands and overly appreciative comments to yourself, and remember the food and alcohol are just props in this evening’s drama, not the main event!
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