Workplace etiquette has dropped to an all-time low, according to a recent survey by Adecco, a national staffing agency that places temporary workers.
Among the top office no-no’s: clipping your nails at your desk and taking your shoes off. While many offices have instituted a casual dress code that their employees have come to appreciate, some employees seem to enjoy pushing the envelope when it comes to what they can wear or personal hygiene habits that most workers leave at home. This can cause even the most flexible, easy going worker to lash out at colleagues. And, if you think flossing your teeth at your desk or taking loud personal calls on your work phone won’t hurt your career, think again.
Jodi R.R. Smith, president of the etiquette training firm Mannersmith says, “People think, ‘Oh I’m a good worker, it’s not that big a deal,’ but I’ve had managers over and over again tell me, ‘Oh, Jodi, when we have to do another reduction, I know who’s first on my list.'”
Want to avoid being next on the chopping block? Be considerate of your office mates. Start with the golden rule: If doing something would annoy or offend you, don’t do it to them. Some seemingly innocent (but nonetheless annoying) examples include overwhelming application of perfume or cologne, singing to a tune you’re hearing over your headphones, and making a mess in the kitchen and not cleaning up afterward. Many people eat at their desk, but if the meal is pungent, you’re a noisy eater, or you get food on your computer and floor, it can prove disgusting and disrupting. Private actions like applying a full face of makeup when everyone else is on deadline, flat ironing your hair, applying deodorant or the aforementioned nail clipping at your desk should also be avoided.
If someone in your office is doing this or other annoying things and you don’t feel comfortable confronting that co-worker, report your grievances to Human Resources. Often they can send out a company wide email reminding everyone of the dress code and some basic etiquette rules, so you aren’t seen as a tattler. After all, no one liked them in grade school and the opinion hasn’t changed in the corporate world, either!
If your co-worker doesn’t change his or her ways, request another place to sit and don’t be afraid to state your reasons why. Many corporations would consider the above behavior to be a form of workplace harrassment if it interferes with your job performance.