- The most common breach of workplace etiquette on the part of staff and coworkers is arriving late to or missing meetings, according to an Accountemps survey of U.S. managers. Failure to respond to calls or emails within a reasonable amount of time (26%) and gossiping about coworkers and colleagues (23%) round out the top three responses.
- By contrast, respondents in a separate Accountemps survey of U.S. workers said that talking about coworkers (24%) was the most common offense, followed by being distracted during meetings (18%) and not responding to calls, email and work-related communication in a timely way (17%).
- According to the results, 65% of managers and 46% of employees think being courteous to fellow workers can lead to career advancement. However, 61% of managers said professionals became more courteous as they advanced within an organization, while 48% of employees said professionals became less courteous as they advanced.
Courtesy at work is just as important as courtesy at home, and HR leaders may need to remind managers and workers about office formalities, potentially via written policy. Common protocols include respectful discourse; arriving at meetings on time; returning calls and responding to other business communication in a timely manner; avoiding office gossip; and keeping others' need for quiet and privacy in mind.
Modern office designs trend toward a more casual feel, often marked by open meeting areas, collaborative seating arrangements and soft, cushiony chairs for comfort. But these changes may require even greater attention to courtesy and decorum. Strong cultures evolve with these changes, integrating communication technologies and other innovations into the fabric of workplace relationships.
Etiquette also reflects on an organization's brand. Companies often expect employees to return customers' calls within a specified amount of time or resolve a patron's problem on the spot, whenever possible. And many companies expect employees to treat each other as internal customers, with the same politeness and courtesy given to patrons, vendors and other external stakeholders.