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Workplace Ethics: Do’s and Don’ts

Workplace ethics is something that you just can’t ignore and most workplaces often promote their own rules and codes of expected behaviour, which should always be observed, especially if causing a commotion doesn’t feature on your agenda.

But there’s also a list of unwritten (or was a list of unwritten) points of etiquette that, when followed, make life easier for you and your colleagues wherever you work.

Some of these points are merely examples of basic decorum that’ll serve you well when upheld both in the workplace and anywhere beyond.

Others are simple tips that are likely to find relevance in all companies, regardless of industry.

All will improve the way your colleagues view you and the atmosphere of your place of work.

Workplace Do’s

  • Show respect and courtesy towards others, whether colleagues, clients, visitors, or anyone else you have contact with in the work place. This includes basic manners such as listening when someone is talking to you, following requests with ‘please’, and showing gratitude with ‘thanks’. Courtesy costs nothing and earns esteem.
  • Be helpful. If people look like they’re struggling, lend them a hand. Offering useful help creates endearment between you to your colleagues and strengthens the team you work with overall. Help, as long as it’s requested or clearly needed, is always welcome.
  • Keep casual chat to a reasonable level. Do talk to your colleagues and enjoy friendly engagement, just bear in mind that you’re being paid to work and your current tasks should always remain your central focus.
  • Bring in treats to share with your colleagues. Everyone likes good food, especially when it’s free. If your treats are home cooked, even better. But make sure there’s enough to go around and be aware of any dietary requirements of those you work with.
  • If you work using a monitor, turn it off while you’re out during lunch and breaks. Always turn off all your equipment at the end of day and make sure you switch the lights off when leaving rooms if you’re the last one Turning off electrical items when they’re not in use saves your company money and shows that you’re conscious of reducing energy wastage.

Workplace Don’ts

  • Try not to make comments that might insult, offend or annoy people. Bad mouthing and spreading gossip and are absolute no’s, especially when pointed at Also remember that others might not find your banter as amusing as you or your friends do, and making jokes about sensitive issues is never a good idea. Moaning is also unwise. And personal matters are best kept at home; they shouldn’t be vented in the workplace.
  • Boastful, arrogant or condescending behaviour won’t earn you any admirers. Your past achievements and current abilities may well be impressive, and if so, good for you, but if they are, they’ll speak for themselves.
  • Equally, unwarranted nervousness and over the top modesty are also unwelcome. Don’t be afraid to disagree or to offer advice for improvements where you think they can be made. Good ideas should be expressed, and relevant opinions should be shared.
  • Don’t arrive late. If arriving past the expected time really is unavoidable, then make the effort to phone in to ensure your colleagues are aware.
  • Your brand’s confidential information is best kept that way: confidential. Don’t go around sharing sensitive details about your company on the outside. Least of all with competitors. If leaked information is traced back to you, you’re likely to have some very angry voices to answer to.

Hopefully none of these tips will come as much of a surprise. Common sense and awareness are often the best guides to etiquette that’ll help make your work place a pleasant environment for you and those you work with.

And, it should also come as little surprise; a pleasant workplace is a more productive workplace and a more enjoyable place to be.


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