Don’t Be That Person

10 business etiquette resolutions for the new year
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In addition to those familiar pledges to eat healthier, exercise more, drink in moderation and smoke less, why not add improve a few office habits?

According to the Emily Post Institute, while 83 percent of employees believe it’s important to work in a civil environment, 12 percent report leaving companies because of incivility.
In that spirit, here are 10 business etiquette resolutions for 2015.

1. Community coffee: Shared items are a breeding ground for faux pas. If you use all but a smidgen of coffee, brew a fresh pot. Replace empty water jugs—or alert the person in charge. If you only want half of a cupcake, find a person to share it with or leave the unwanted half on a plate with a note that it wasn’t handled and is there for the taking. Finally, always clean up after yourself.

2. Get well soon (then come to work): If you aren’t sure what to do, a good rule of thumb is if you are running a fever, call in sick. Also, gastrointestinal issues are best dealt with in the comfort and privacy of your own home.

3. Culture clash: A little homework on greetings and customs could be the difference between landing a client and losing one. When planning for a meeting with clients from Japan for example, a simple Google search reveals that the Japanese often offer a small, inexpensive gift upon an initial meeting.

4. Technically speaking: Hallways, elevators, bathrooms and business meetings should be smartphone and earbud-free zones. At worst it can seem impolite, but the isolation also might deter opportunities for positive interactions with senior managers.

5. Navigating the cube farm: Respect the cubicle space of your colleagues. Rather than interrupting them unannounced, send an email or call regarding a good time to swing by for a quick discussion. Also, avoid eating smelly foods, such as tuna or “stinky” cheeses at your desk.

6. Dress for success: It cannot be said enough: What you wear at the office sends a message to colleagues and management. A popular adage to consider is to “dress for the job you want.” And with on-site gyms becoming more popular, make sure workout gear is restriced to the gym.

7. Emotional territory: Yes, it is difficult to discern tone in email correspondence; however, emoticons are best left for emails and texts to friends and loved ones. (Confession: I’m resisting the urge to insert a sadface here.)

8. Salutations and closings: Begin your emails with a greeting and a closing, unless it’s one in a long stream of responses. A formal, “Dear Mr. Broussard,” isn’t necessary, but a simple, “Hello Mr. Broussard,” (if you’ve never met or are not on a first-name basis), or “Hello John,” (if you have met and are on a first-name basis) is acceptable. Adding a closing to your signature is good form. “Cheers,” “Thank you,” and “Best,” are all adequate choices.

9. Respond, s’il vous plait: When you get an email, it’s considerate to let the sender know you received it. A simple “Got it!” works well for more casual business environments or relationships.

10. Reply all: Think long and hard before you hit that “Reply All” button. Most of the time, just say no. 

 

 

 

Categories: Biz Etiquette, The Magazine
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