5 tips on office etiquette
Disclaimer: This may or may not have been inspired by Schroder PR’s recent move to Historic Rhodes Hall. If you’ve never been inside the Atlanta landmark, you’re missing out.
Your first job in public relations has a lot of new and exciting opportunities to conquer. One of these is something many people overlook – how to behave in an office atmosphere.
This is a touchy subject, because every office is different. Some offices are business casual, some business professional. Here are five general tips to start you off in your new job or internship:
In the world of public relations, email is the most efficient way to keep up with clients, colleagues and journalists – but it is often misused. PR Daily released “15 tips to refine your email etiquette” recently, and while some were common sense, others made me take a closer look at what I was sending. I won’t list all of them here, but it’s definitely worth checking out. We’ve all heard horror stories about hitting “Reply All” instead of “Reply” or sending funny emails to coworkers that actually insult others, so be sure to pay attention and really consider every email you send.
- Another tip is to respond in a timely manner. If you can’t respond right away, you have no idea how much people appreciate you letting them know that you are still “researching their request and will get back to them within a certain time frame.” Trust me on this one. At first I didn’t want to be a bother and send an email telling the recipient that I would send them another email, but it is courteous and lets them know you aren’t ignoring them.
- Also, it’s important to figure out what the preferred company email format is in the beginning. Most companies address the receiver with Hello, Good morning/afternoon/evening or Hi. Starting an email with “Hey” or something else not accepted by your company may make your clients or boss uncomfortable.
For workplace fashion, go with the crowd. My first day of both my internships, and then my job – I overdressed. It didn’t bother me, because it was my first day, and I hadn’t had the chance to see what “fit the workplace.” I say, use the boss, or at least your superior, to see how to dress. Business casual doesn’t mean flip-flops, but it also doesn’t require suits and tights every day. Dressing too formally in a casual workplace is just as bad as dressing too casually in a formal workplace. With that said, even if you’re allowed to wear jeans everyday, you should still dress in meeting attire when you’ll see clients.
- If you have a job or an internship, you should have some sense of professionalism. This encompasses a lot of things in my opinion. One thing I can think of is having common courtesy. Simply be respectful of your coworkers – their time, their space and their privacy. Regulate cell phone usage. Don’t handle personal interest at work. Use your time wisely. Don’t shop online at work and just be mature. There are many more, but use common sense and mirror the actions of your superiors. “Dress” (or in this case behave) for the job you want, right?
This is funny, but serious. If there’s something you can figure out on your own, please do it. Use spellcheck, Google it or look in your emails. There are no stupid questions, but there are some that flirt with that line. DO ask questions concerning clients and protocol, especially if you’re new. If you’re thinking of sending a question that can be answered with a “Let me Google that for you” response, you may want to think again.
- I think this may be the most important office etiquette tip, because how you interact with your coworkers can affect how you work. This tip is a super tip, because it contains a lot of sub-tips.
- Don’t gossip or be catty about others you work with.
- Believe it or not, you can learn something from everyone in your office. Don’t hold back your own ideas, but listen to others’ and collaborate with them on projects.
- Also, don’t be the last to enter and first to leave work everyday.
- Take responsibility for mistakes, apologize and move on.
- And never ever clash with coworkers in front of a client – you’ll both come off as unprofessional.
This short list does not by any means cover all the office etiquette tips needed, but it’s a start. If you only take one thing away from this post, let it be this: Be considerate of people around you – remember that they are trying to work! Oh, and don’t bring anything stinky for lunch. What tips would you add?