OFFICE ETIQUETTE: Are You Driving Your Co-workers Crazy?

Good manners are important in all aspects of life. So why do some people feel that common courtesy and etiquette don’t apply at the office? Your co-workers are a bit like roommates, and they don’t want you encroaching on their space, or leaving a mess for them to clean up. Some of these “roommates” may someday be promoted to a position where they have power over you, so why sabotage yourself by earning a reputation as someone who is discourteous, or just plain disgusting? Here are some areas where bad workplace etiquette drives co-workers crazy:

Kitchen Chaos

Unless your mother works at your office, assume there is no one there who will clean up after you. Never leave your trash behind, or dirty dishes in the sink. If you’ve just used the last sugar packet from the coffee station, open the cabinet and replenish the supply for the next person (I know you know where the extras are kept). How do we know you heated up some pasta with marinara sauce for lunch? Because the microwave looks like a crime scene. Wipe it down. And the break-room refrigerator is not the place for science experiments, so whatever you’re growing in there must die. Speaking of stuff in the refrigerator, please see the next item on the list.

Petty Theft

Your office is not some kind of weird buffet where you can take anything that fits in your pockets. A few paper clips is one thing, but the office supply closet is not your personal Staples. And I will never understand why people steal other people’s lunches. Aside from the fact that IT’S NOT YOURS, the germophobe in me likes to know how my food is prepared. What if that anonymous sandwich was made by someone who had just cleaned their cat’s litter box and didn’t wash their hands in between ? Speaking of clean hands, please see the next item on the list.

Rest Room Rudeness

Why? Just, why? When you share a rest room with your colleagues, why wouldn’t you at least pretend to have some basic sense of hygiene and decorum? I can’t speak for the men, but ladies, explain the splatter on the seat. What’s happening in there? Hula hooping while relieving oneself is not what your employer meant by “multi-tasking.” A courtesy wipe-down is essential, and a flush, I beg you. You’re in the shared restroom at your professional place of business, not a port-o-potty at Lollapalooza. And for the love of Mike, wash your hands. Three words: Get. A. Clue. Speaking of getting a clue, please see the next item on the list.

General Cluelessness

Here’s a quick breakdown. Try giving everyone a heads-up before sending your 500-page document to the shared printer. If you’re really sick, extend the courtesy of staying home rather than coughing and sniffling your way around all day, touching everything. Show up for scheduled events, and try to be on time. And here’s a tip – neither the short, thin walls of your cubicle, nor the air above them, are impervious to sound, or smell. We can hear you. And your cologne is so strong we can almost hear that, too. We don’t want to know you this well, and if you need further clarification, please see all of the above items on the list.

I could go on and on, but it’s exhausting, and a little bit sad. We are all grown-ups, so let’s try to act the part. Whatever situation you’re in, just put yourself in the shoes of the next person who’s going to be using the kitchen or the meeting room, etc., and try to see it through their eyes. If there’s a chance they will be angry and/or repulsed by what they see, then take a moment to make it right. And if you can’t show minimal courtesy to your co-workers, then you deserve a lifetime supply of kitty litter sandwiches.

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