10 Dos & Don’ts of Corporate Culture

Want to go further in your career? Start by following these simple office etiquette tips.

Compiled by Erin Semple from readersdigest.com

Interoffice Dating
DO be discreet. Date someone on an equal playing field or outside of your department. Be ready to accept the consequences. DON'T allow it to interfere with work. DON'T make co-workers feel uncomfortable.

Dress Attire
DO pay attention to the FACS: the fit, the accessories, the color and the style. Dress conservatively. DON'T go for the 'sexy' look.

Personal Problems
DO leave your personal problems at the door. DON'T overload listeners with details. Avoid the following topics: Divorce, childhood traumas, gross medical problems, the history of your family's mental problems and prison activity.

DO realize that co-workers are gossiping about you and that gossiping does not lead to you fitting in. Instead, find a positive exit strategy and walk away. DON'T start the gossip. If you are gossiping a lot, your job may be boring, and you should find more productive ways to fill your time.

DO follow the corporate culture, but be aware of your co-worker's perception of you. DON'T show up late to a meeting or an appointment and appear ill-prepared. It’s always best to be five minutes early and prepared.

Making a Mistake
DO give an explanation, and collect the facts. Calmly address the problem with the proper solution. DON'T place blame or react in abrupt manner.

Sick Days
DO take a mental health day if one is needed. Consider the benefits compared to your productivity as an employee. When requesting one, be honest with your supervisor about your mental wellness. DON'T call in sick when you are healthy, and do not post what you did on any social networking sites.

DO keep in mind your own work rhythm. Taking lunch could cause you to become less productive or allow you to meet new people and return with a fresh outlook. DON'T stay too long or allow it to take precedence over a meeting or a deadline.

Instant messenger and E-Mail
DO be specific and clear. Pay attention the culture of your department, which can cause these forms of communication to be laid-back or more formal. DON'T use abbreviations. DON'T assume that the responder has access to the background information on a project. Rather, brief them on the topic prior to asking a question.

Quirky Habits
DO accept yours and your co-workers' quirks. Calmly approach co-workers about their annoying habits, since they are usually unaware of them. DON'T allow your habits or someone else's to affect the productivity of the department. Be sure not to be guilty of these top 5 annoying habits:
1. A demanding attitude
2. Consistently being late to functions
3. Talking with your mouth full
4. Talking too loudly on the phone
5. Stealing co-workers' lunches or equipment

Sources: Business Etiquette Experts Barbara Pachter, author of NewRules@Work: 79 Etiquette Tips, Tools, and Techniques to Get Ahead and Stay Ahead (Prentice Hall Press), Peter Post, author of The Etiquette Advantage in Business (HarperCollins), Jacqueline Whitmore, author of author of Business Class: Etiquette Essentials for Success at Work(St. Martin's Press), Reader's Digest Advice Columnist Jeanne Marie Laskas

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