- Being a “Sunday night e-mailer.” Many business people like to clear out their inbox from home on Sunday night. That eliminates spending an hour replying to email first thing Monday morning. However, when you clean out your inbox on Sunday night, you dump a load of email on your colleagues’ or clients’ desk. Now they have to deal with your replies or forwards when they arrive at the office Monday morning. Solution: If you are a “Sunday night e-mailer,” be considerate. Save those messages somewhere in your email program, and release them mid morning on Monday.
- Hovering over your colleagues while they are on the phone. You want to have a word with a co-worker so you go to his office or cubicle only to see him on the phone. Don’t stand there waiting. This is distracting and inconsiderate. Solution: Just catch the person’s eye, signal that you’d like to talk with him or her, then go back to your desk and wait until your colleague either calls, emails you or comes to your office.
- Failing to remove your leftovers from the office kitchen. You brought your lunch to the office, but then had an invitation to eat out. Your lunch sits in the refrigerator until it turns blue. Solution: Either decide that you will have that lunch the following day, take it home for dinner or toss it out. No one else should have to clean out your yucky leftovers.
- Using speaker phone while in your cubicle or in your office with the door open. Other people in the office should not be subjected to your phone conversations. It is inconsiderate of those around you as well as the person on the other end of the line. Solution: If you have to use the speaker phone function for a call, go to a private location or shut your door.
- Taking your cell/smart phone into a meeting and placing it on the table. Mobile phones should be turned off and out of sight during meetings. Once you place yours on the table, you send a message that you are only partially present. Everyone knows that your eye is on the phone should something be deemed as more important comes along. This is an insult to others present. It devalues everyone around you. Solution: If you are expecting a call that is so important that you can’t be unattached from your phone, rethink whether you should attend the meeting. Next choice, apologize and explain why your phone has to be in plain view. There are few phone calls that can’t wait until your meeting is over.
If you find that you are guilty of any of these workplace sins, follow the solutions I have offered.
Additional tips on office etiquette and workplace manners can be found in my book, Manners That Sell – Adding the Polish That Builds Profits (Pelican Publishing).
Hire Lydia to work with your staff to improve customer service and employee relations through the use of those priceless and often over-looked soft skills called manners. Lydia is the “unstuffy” business etiquette expert who helps individuals and organizations add the polish that builds profits. We’re talking about your bottom line here.
Since 1996, countless people have benefited from her wisdom through keynotes, seminars and conference breakout sessions. Her Southern charm and sense of humor have made her a sought-after speaker and consultant.
Based in Savannah, Georgia, Lydia is available for national, regional and local speaking and training engagements. She has suitcase; will travel.