There are many different types of workplaces, and what is considered professional and appropriate in one setting might not be acceptable in another setting. However, there are some general guidelines that apply to most people and to many industries. It can be easy to forget these guidelines, so here are some examples of what to do and what not to do when it comes to professional etiquette.
Don’t: Eat Lunch at Your Desk
While eating lunch at your desk can be convenient, it is not considered to be the most professional look in most offices. This is especially true if you work in an area that is not separated from others by a door, which allows the smell of your food, as well as chewing sounds, to filter into nearby workspaces. In addition to being more professional, getting up to eat elsewhere and taking a break from the work environment is better for your mental and physical health.
Do: Pay When You Invite Clients for Lunch
Sometimes it is necessary to take clients out for lunch during the workday. In these cases, the question of who should pay often arises. This is also generally the case when you invite a coworker out to lunch, although this guideline may not apply if this is a coworker with who you often go out to lunch and have a previously established system for paying. However, if there is any doubt and you extended the invite, be prepared to pick up the tab at the end of the meal.
Don’t: Go Over the Scheduled Meeting Time
Sometimes, unexpected technical issues or questions from meeting attendees arise. However, it is considered rude and unprofessional to go over a scheduled meeting time. If you are in the audience, avoid asking questions at the last minute and instead ask the meeting host privately at the end of the meeting or at another scheduled time. If you are the one speaking, make sure that your presentation is at or under your allotted amount of time. People in the meeting likely have other commitments after the meeting, and you do not want to make them late.
Do: Introduce Yourself
Professional etiquette rules say for you to introduce yourself to colleagues using your first and last names. This helps people remember you and find you if they need to reach out to you later.
Keep these things in mind when you go into the office each day.