Office etiquette in the UK
For decades now the world has worked on a 9 to 5 basis, with employees working out of offices around the globe. No matter what kind of industry you work within, you’ll quickly notice that there’s a lot of office etiquette you need to abide by in order to make it in the world of office work.
First of all, what’s etiquette?
If you’re a bit unsure as to what etiquette really means within the business world, it’s essentially just a list on unwritten rules that you should follow when working. Not abiding by these rules can kick up a lot of issues with office politics, and having bad etiquette could give people the wrong impression of you.
In business, first impressions count for everything. This is why you should be as courteous as possible and always follow some of the following tips…
Etiquette in the UK
In the UK, office etiquette often relies on common sense. If you wouldn’t like to be treated or spoken to in a certain way, make sure you don’t do it to other people.
– Be polite
When first starting work within an office in the UK, you should do your best not to offend anyone. Say please and thank you, be interested in your colleagues and offer to make others a cup of tea when making one for yourself. Also, try not to make any crude jokes or use bad language before people get a chance to know you.
– Be on time
Tardiness can be one of the biggest issues when working in an office, so always strive to be on time. If you know you’re going to be late, call ahead to let your manager know and give an estimate of when you expect to get there.
– Be honest
No one likes a liar and being honest in all situations will often work out for the better. If you’re struggling with your workload, for example, or you don’t think you’re the best man for the job, speak up.
– Silence your phone
Although a lot of UK offices don’t force employees to switch their mobiles off when at work, silencing them is often a must. No one wants to be deafened by someone’s ringtone. Depending on the company code, phone calls can often be answered within the workplace in an emergency, but always leave the room to take them.
– Ask permission first
Before you go to use someone else’s property, ask for permission. Even if you’re certain that your colleague won’t mind if you use their pen or some of the margarine they keep in the company fridge, asking beforehand will help. If you do use someone’s stuff without asking though, make sure you own up to it if they begin to question where it’s got to.
– Ask for assistance
If you’re stuck with a problem that could be easily solved by asking for help, the obvious thing to do would be to speak up. Rather than spending hours trying to solve the problem yourself, save some time and ask someone to assist you. Chances are, asking for help will give them the impression that you’re confident and eager to get work done.
– Go easy on the fragrances
Though there’s certainly no rule against wearing a bit of perfume or aftershave to work, if you overdo it you probably won’t endear yourself to your colleagues. Similarly, be mindful of unpleasant body odours.
– Stay at home when you’re ill
If you wake up one day with a bit of a cough, go into work. If you wake up the next day with a full-blown cold, call in sick. While managers want all of the work to get done, they don’t want their entire workforce to be knocked out by the flu. Take a day off to recuperate and then come back.
Also, if you do find that you’re too ill to go into work, never get a friend or family member to call in sick for you. Texting your manager them ill is also a big no-no, as it can be seen as quite rude. Always speak to someone over the phone.
However, never abuse this system by calling in sick when you’re absolutely fine – you’ll regret it when you really are sick but you’ve already used more sick days than you’re allotted.
Having good etiquette when working in an office can count for a lot, so give people the right impression by treating others how you’d like to be treated.