'Don't Microwave Leftover Seafood' And Other Office Etiquette Tips Everyone Should Abide By

If you're sick, leave your germs at home please.

Nearly every office environment serves as a cross-section of the overall population. Thus, when establishing workplace etiquette tips everyone should abide by, leaders must focus on rules that appease each employee. However, office etiquette isn't an exact science. While it's clear that there should be workplace etiquette rules that prohibit harassment of any variety, some tips might not be quite so obvious, yet they are essential for maintaining peace and productivity. The following tips for office etiquette will help you become the ideal colleague (if you aren't already, of course).. 

Here are nine office etiquette tips everyone should abide by:


1. Don't schedule a meeting when the topic at hand could've easily been an email.

Everyone can agree that the vast majority of meetings are actually counterproductive. Not only do they interrupt your flow, but they also often raise more problems than they solve. Never pull your co-workers away from their desks when, in reality, your "urgent" meeting could've easily been conducted via email. Oftentimes, the invited parties convene, only to disperse minutes later because the leader merely wanted to make sure everyone's "on the same page." You know what else has pages? Emails.

2. Don't spend the entire morning rehashing last night's 'The Walking Dead' episode.

Whether you're obsessed with The Walking Dead, Homeland, or Westworld, there's no need to rehash everything that happened on the latest episode the following morning. Even if you and Carol from accounting bonded over your mutual desire to predict the fate of your favorite characters, few others want to hear you two gushing loudly from the common area. Be polite and talk quietly, or save the chatter for lunchtime, as those who are most productive in the morning will thank you.

3. Don't microwave leftover seafood in an office without windows.

Did you have salmon for dinner last night? Well, you might want to rethink packing it in your lunch bag and lugging it to work! Have you ever smelled reheated fish in the confines of an office with windows you can't open? If you haven't, now's not the time to start. Also, you might want to refrain from eating yogurt in an enclosed office, too. (It smells like stinky feet.) On the contrary, if you choose to microwave popcorn at work, you better be sure to have enough for everyone. Yum!

4. Don't wear potent perfumes or colognes in small, enclosed spaces, either.

When there's perfume or cologne wafting through the air, every season's allergy season at the office. People can be quite sensitive when it comes to smells that irritate their sinuses, especially if you can't open the windows. You might enjoy the scent, but when you're sharing such close quarters with an array of people, you have to think of everyone involved. Everyone's entitled to fresh air and you're impeding those rights by choking them slowly, as anyone can smell you coming from a mile away.

5. Don't take personal calls at your desk unless it's an emergency.

Although your office might not prohibit personal calls, there are typically unspoken guidelines that everyone must follow when engaging with friends or family over the phone. Emergencies, of course, are always the exception to any rule. But, if your spouse has questions about your dinner plans, or your mother won't be available to babysit, you should take said calls out into the hall. You probably talk a lot louder than you think — we all do — and your megaphone voice will interrupt everyone's concentration.

6. Don't play dumb because you know others on your team will pick up the slack.

There's always that one coworker who lives for payday, yet refuses to exert the energy necessary to earn that income. SPOILER ALERT! If you're that person, rest assured that everyone else on your team loathes you. They're sick of picking up the slack because you feign incompetence every time a major project arises. Instead, pull your weight! Revisit your job description and live up to the title. However, if you're reading said description on an actual job board, it might already be too late... Oops?

7. Don't leave the empty paper towel tube on the roll for someone else to change.

Think of the communal paper towel rolls as your kitchen's toilet paper. You'd want your colleague to change the roll if they used up the last of the supply, right? Then be courteous and do the same thing! If the office appears to be out of paper towels entirely, then you can't be held accountable, but you should then take the initiative to speak with the office manager to ensure he or she knows that they need to restock.

8. Don't set your ringtone volume high enough for the entire office to hear.

When you're sharing a relatively small space with numerous people, every single noise can be disruptive to those who are trying to concentrate. During the workday, set your mobile phone to the lowest volume setting, or bypass the volume altogether and go straight to vibrate. No one wants to hear that incessant bike bell "ding" every time you receive a text, and no one needs to know that Rick Astley's "Never Gonna Give You Up" means your spouse can't pick up the kids from school this afternoon.. 

9. Don't fault others because they don't work the way you do.

Just as children have different learning styles, adults have different working styles. While some might be able to thrive among the distractions of an open office floor plan, others require silence and solitude. The same applies to meetings. Some prefer to brainstorm out loud, while others remain quiet so they can process the information before tackling the issue at hand. Everyone has their individual strengths — you just need to learn how to leverage everyone's skills effectively.

Cover image via LinkedIn Sales Navigator on Unsplash

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