Workplace Etiquette

Workplace etiquette

Now that you have landed a do you succeed at work? Manners count. You should be aware of workplace policies regarding conduct and personal use of the Internet and electronic devices.

Tips For Workplace etiquette


Prepare a few business casual (or professional dress if that's your office's style) outfits for the first few weeks and get a feel for what mid- and senior-level professionals wear. As for the first few days, men should wear khaki pants or dress slacks with a button- down, long sleeve shirt. Avoid the short-sleeve polo. It ultimately might be fine, but it's best to err on the side of caution for the first few days. Ladies, wear pants or a skirt that comes--at least--to just above your knee. Do not wear flip flops, and wear a shirt that covers the shoulders. No tank tops the first week.


New employees should be ready to start working as soon as they arrive at their desk. On the same note, eat breakfast. It will help you be at your best.

Speak in full sentences

In this age of text messaging and social networking, it should be noted that new hires must speak--and write e-mails and memos--in full sentences. No abbreviations, and always use capital letters and proper punctuation in e-mail, particularly if the note is going to a client. Also, don't discount the importance of face time or telephone calls instead of e-mail or instant message.

Business lunches

Allow the most senior level officer in the organization to order first. It is best not to order a drink. This is true even if the people you're with are enjoying a cocktail or glass of wine. This is a business lunch, and you need to be at the top of your game.

Working with your supervisor

Meet early on to get an understanding for each other. A few standard questions will go a long way. New hires can ask their supervisor: What method of communication do you prefer--e-mail, face-to-face or phone conversations? What's your work schedule, and what are your expectations of mine? Would you prefer me to ask questions as they come up, or should we set aside a time each week to talk about them? Do you want me to check in with you daily to update you on the progress I'm making in my work?


Your supervisor might allow you much more time than necessary to complete a project until he or she knows how long it takes you get tasks done. Don't just sit around if you finish something. Instead, tell your boss that you're ready for additional projects. You might say, "Please let me know what else I can help you with."


Corporate culture includes technology and it is your responsibility to be informed on company policies and procedures. 

General rules on using technology in the workplace

  • Learn your company's policy regarding the use of electronic devices in the workplace; if these policies are not shared, look on the company's web site. If not available, request the information from your manager or the human resources department.
  • Understand that your company has the right to monitor your use of e-mail and may terminate you if you do not adhere to its policies.
  • Beware of a false sense of security before sending an e-mail. Ask yourself if you would mind if your message was sent to the world. Remember you have no control where your message goes after you click send.
  • Certain web sites can be off-limits; understand what these are. If you accidently log onto one of them immediately report it to your information security officer or IT department.
  • Downloading of some programs can be prohibited (RealPlayer, freeware, shareware, games, and so on); find out what these are.
  • It is often against company policy to use office technology for commercial or personal use. Set up a separate e-mail address for these purposes.
  • If policies prohibit the personal use of the Internet during work hours, limit your use to breaks, lunch hours, or from your own home.
  • If company guidelines permit a "reasonable use" for personal reasons, let your friends and family know of this restriction and ask them to respect this privilege.

Cell phone use

Use may be restricted to breaks. Know your company's policies. Select a ringtone that is appropriate for your work environment. When talking on a cell phone, speak in a normal tone of voice.

Social media guidelines

Be aware of the risks of social media at work including: misinterpreted posts, a high level of distraction, oversharing of personal information, company misrepresentation, replacement of face-to-face communication, and sharing of sensitive or illicit content.

From “10 Social Media Guidelines for Generation Z Employees” by Ryan Jenkins

  • Be respectful. Intent matters; have the right intent and treat others as you want to be treated.
  • Know and follow your company's social media guidelines. Neglecting the guidelines can get you fired, sued, or both. Also, consider the company's code of ethics.
  • Proofread before posting. Correct poor grammar, unnecessary slang, or misspelled words.
  • Use a disclaimer (if your name is closely associated with your employer). Make it clear when you are posting your personal opinions.
  • Check privacy settings. Decide what accounts might need to be private or set up a separate business or personal account.
  • Don't complain about work over social media (no matter how private the account). Consider discussing your work challenges with friends or colleagues face-to-face.
  • Don't share confidential company info. Keep information such as budget, future plans, rumors in the office, etc. confidential. Also, be aware that sensitive info does not sneak into the backdrop of a photo.
  • Don't fight with customers on social media. Handle complaints and criticism calmly and respond with the type of positive, empathetic words that you would like to receive if you had an issue.
  • Don't post illicit content or anything that could damage you professionally.
  • Don't spend more time on social media than is necessary for productive work.