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Courtesy at work: Don’t send your colleagues into a snit

Most of us work with relatively sane people who try to behave during the eight hours or so that they’re in the office. And we attempt to do the right things and avoid offending our co-workers as well.

But some people just don’t get it. As part of a survey on workplace etiquette, the Robert Half organization asked employees to share some of the most outrageous workplace scenes they’d witnessed or heard about. Here are some of the “winners”:


• “A co-worker fell asleep at her desk and another team member took a picture of her snoozing and sent it to the boss.”


• “Someone was stealing other people’s lunches from the lounge area.”


• “A colleague purposely sneezed in the boss’s coffee cup.”


• “After asking me a question, a co-worker talked excessively for 30 minutes without letting me get in one word.”


• “I once heard an employee screaming at a customer.”


• “Someone thought he put a customer on hold and then used inappropriate language within earshot.”


• “Employees were walking around the office barefoot.”


• “A person took a cell phone into the restroom while still talking.”


Don’t join this club. Here are some simple tips for proper workplace behavior:


• Watch your language. Crude language, naughty jokes, and insensitive comments don’t belong in the workplace. If you wonder whether something is safe to say, it probably isn’t.

• Don’t criticize or complain in public. Trashing a colleague, customer, or boss where others can hear makes you look petty and unprofessional. If you have a problem, deal with it in private.


• Stay cool. Take a moment to collect your thoughts and control your emotions before responding to a difficult co-worker or an annoying situation. If you gain a reputation for losing your temper, few people will want to work with you.

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Ventures Unlimited

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