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Conducting yourself in a respectful and courteous manner is an integral aspect of an office life. Every worker is supposed to follow a set of obvious, but, sometimes, unwritten rules. These rules determine the workplace manners, which are also known as office etiquette. Therefore, the aim of this paper is to analyze the main aspects of workplace manner and some issues, which happen as a result of applying them.
Basics of Workplace Manners
Workplace manners can tell a lot about the personality, as well as productivity, of an employee. Every workplace has different sets of rules concerning manners and etiquette. However, most social rules are the same for every place (Kanga, 2008). Some rules of etiquette were imposed in Middle Ages in China and European countries. Civilization has developed since then, and so did office etiquette, reaching further to business etiquette (Turku & Feraru, 2010). Some popular trends were pushing work manners towards total equality between men and women, and the way they are treated became similar. The negative aspect of this can be seen as some people start forgetting about decent work manners not letting women go first, or not opening doors for them, etc. These practices affect office manners in general (Kanga, 2008).
Appropriate behavior and ethics during interactions with colleagues, business partners, and senior stuff show a high level of business manners. Workplace etiquette is usually based on the unwritten rules regarding speaking in public, behaving at business meetings, exchanging business cards, shaking hands, the acceptable style of clothes, make-up, and jewelry to be worn, etc. (Turku & Feraru, 2010).
Principles of Workplace Manners
There are some principles of workplace manners, which are fundamental for business etiquette. The principles include politeness, discretion, punctuality, language, look, and affability (Turku & Feraru, 2010). Politeness is the core principle of business etiquette, which needs to be used equally by every employee and employer in the workplace (Hoover, 2007). The necessity of respecting the discretion principle has risen with the Internet and e-mail becoming more popular. First of all, information has to be kept discrete in business; it is an essential feature of a decent businessman. A business person has to be affable when talking to co-workers, partners, or clients in order to make a favorable first impression. There is a well know fact that when people meet a sociable and friendly person, they tend to think that person is also intelligent, hard-working, and sincere (Turku & Feraru, 2010).
Punctuality is the first thing, which can a person like or dislike about others. An employee always has to arrive on time, or notify in advance about the possible delay (Hoover, 2007). If a person is unpunctual in the business surrounding, others can make some assumptions about the person’s personal and business qualities respectively. Those assumptions would be based on the first impression made just by being unpunctual. Punctuality helps to start cooperation with partners successfully, since it shows how much a person respects the people he is dealing with (Turku & Feraru, 2010).
Learning office politics, sometimes, is also listed among the workplace manners principles. It requires carefully listening to others and behaving in a proper way. This aspect is essential for employees, who are starting to work at a new company (Hoover, 2007).
Other workplace principles – language and look – are connected to the external side of business communications. A neat look and polite language always help to make a contact with others in everyday life, as well as in business life. Language that is used in business communications need to be adequate, well-mannered, polite, and involving. Some impressing results were received in the research of verbal and non-verbal communications in business. Thus, 55% of the first impression is made by a person’s look. It includes physical characteristics, such as hair color, weight, height, clothes, jewelry, and make-up. Body language, trust, the way a person can present himself, speaking skills, visual contact between people are the other 38% of the first impression. The content of one’s speech contributes only 7% to the total percentage (Turku & Feraru, 2010).
Using adequate language concerns verbal speaking, body language, gestures, and writing business letters (Turku & Feraru, 2010). The main principles of writing business letters correctly are using words carefully and not being emotional, selecting appropriate greeting and closing words, using a professional style and tone. Moreover, efficient business letter require using personal pronouns in order to make it more personal and writing in the active voice. The most common mistakes in writing official letters are being too emotional or informal, having grammatical mistakes, using capitalization, writing short or slang versions of the words (Dumbrava & Koronka, 2006, p.62)
According to Turcu and Feraru (2010), there is a special formula for determining appropriate business manners; it consists of three equal parts: rational thinking, affability, and common sense (p.3). The authors (Turku & Feraru, 2010) also chose the main words for describing a businessperson with good manners: integrity, manners, personality, apparel, consideration, and tact (p.4).
Workplace Manners in Treating New Employees and Colleagues
Manners are similar for different spheres of life, although there are some specific aspects for business. According to some commonly used rules in business etiquette, newcomers are supposed to be introduced to every new co-worker and senior management. Seniors should give the brief information about their responsibilities and about the company at the first days of employment. Asking personal questions, as well as mispronouncing or mixing-up their names, is considered to be poor manners. At the beginning, a newcomer should be not called by his first name, but his last name preceded by Mrs., Mr., or Ms. (Kanga, 2008).
Colleagues should be treated with courtesy, not ever forgetting to say hello or goodbye to them, to thank and apologize when needed. Regular small talks with colleagues are needed in order to support your relationship (Kanga, 2008).
There are some etiquette rules of using mobile phones at work. When talking on the phone, people should keep their voice down not to distract anyone from work. Mobile phones have to be put on the silent or vibrant regime at the office. Only important calls should be made at the office and only for a strictly limited time. Long phone calls might irritate and distract the colleagues (McKay, 2012).
Business Meeting Etiquette
The crucial points, which are considered as perfect business meeting etiquette, are being punctual, appropriately dressed, attentive, sociable, respectful, and polite. Speaking briefly, providing relevant information, listening carefully to the interlocutor, and not interrupting are major manners requirements at the meetings. It is also crucial to get thoroughly prepared to the meeting. Mobile telephones have to be switched off, which would exclude the possibility of interrupting a speaker (Kanga, 2008).
Therefore, manners in the workplace are the crucial part of the business process and formal communications. The principles of business etiquette include personal aspect, interpersonal aspects, and behavior, which are taken into significant consideration when forming the first impression about a business partner or a colleague. Every person has to work on developing decent workplace manners in order to be respectful and polite to others. It would help to develop better communications with co-workers and clients and to build a strong career.