The 10 Commandments Of Workplace Etiquette

by Jennifer Burby
Originally Published: 

This is one of the simplest ways to make your co-workers despise you. It takes ten seconds to brew a fresh pot of coffee. If you don’t know how to use the coffee maker, then someone will be happy to show you.

Ignorance doesn’t justify inconsideration.

6. Thou Shalt Not Be a Mooch

Don’t be “that person” who routinely attends potluck work events without contributing. If you didn’t have time to bring something from home, then call Domino’s and have something delivered to the office.

Everybody loves pizza.

7. Thou Shalt Keep Personal Internet Use to a Minimum

Nowadays, Big Brother is constantly monitoring how you spend time on the Internet at work. This also true if you’re logged in to your employer’s Wi-Fi on your smart phone. I’ve heard of several instances of employers auditing their employees’ computer use to ensure they’re not burning work time on the Internet.

If you are completing your assigned tasks or are on your lunch break, there’s nothing wrong with an occasional Internet diversion. However, if you are getting paid to perform a job but, instead, are spending your time shopping online or catching up with your Facebook friends, you are arguably stealing from your employer.

8. Thou Shalt Turn Off the Music

I’ve never been the person who can perform thoughtful activities while listening to music. It’s hard to concentrate with it in the background, and I find myself focusing on the words and rhythm of the song, as opposed to the task at hand.

If you work in an open office environment, turn your music off completely. If you listen to music on headphones, make sure it isn’t so loud that other people can hear it. If you listen to music in a private office, keep the door closed.

9. Thou Shalt Dress Appropriately

I once worked at a law firm where one of the older assistants routinely wore a letterman-style Skittles jacket to work.

Skittles. As in, taste the rainbow.

Wear clothing that is suitable for your age, body type and the nature of your career. If you are 25 years old and employed at the Victoria’s Secret headquarters, then it is likely appropriate (and encouraged) to wear short skirts to work. In 99 percent of other situations, no. And law firms are probably not the best place to show off your favorite Skittles jacket.

10. Thou Shalt Show Gratitude

Your employer doesn’t owe you a holiday party, paid maternity leave (in the United States) and, in many cases, a year-end bonus or raise. While you likely worked hard to achieve these things, showing a bit of gratitude by acknowledging the benefit and thanking your supervisors will go a long way. It only takes a millisecond to say, “Thank you.”

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