Offices are funny places, which is probably why so many sitcoms and TV shows have been based within them. They’re a little tiny world of their own, with their own rules and ways of working. Often a first day at an office can be like a first day on a completely new planet, so it can be a real minefield avoiding office faux pas when you’ve not done a degree on the inner working of this particular office.
How could you have known that ‘no one sits on John’s seat’ or that the boss was a vegan and takes a particular disliking to people coming into the office wearing fur?
However, it is worth remembering that there are some basic ‘universal’ office faux pas that apply to every office, and it will pay you well to stick to good social etiquette and avoid the following:
- TMI – Too Much Information
It’s totally fine to get to know colleagues and chat with them about everyday life, but when your voice is the only one being heard and you’re going into way too much detail about last nights date with Jim/ that bug you had that left you stuck on the toilet for hours/ how much you hate cheese – people are going to be irritated.
Touching up your lip gloss or eyeliner in the loo’s is totally fine, but full on preening at the desk is not. Avoid picking spots, drawing on your eyebrows, applying mascara, painting your nails or any other grooming habits when in the office – nobody wants to see your mascara face.
- Ice Ice Baby
You might think being the ice queen or king will make you some how ‘exclusive’ and appear picky about who you get along with – but it will actually just make you look like you’ve got a bad attitude. The office is a tiny world, with lots of different types of people in it – it’s no place to be frosty to people you don’t particularly like. Just keep your grudges or grievances to yourself and get on with it, otherwise you’re going to be enduring plenty of awkwardness in the years to come.
Gossiping will not get you anywhere apart from maybe the boss’s office for a telling off when the receptionist you thought you could trust lets out your little secret (to everyone else in the office). Gossiping might be fun at the time, but imagine if it was about you, would you like it? It’s very immature, childish and creates a toxic atmosphere so stay out of it and don’t get involved.
- Being Gobby
To work well in an office you have to concentrate on the task in hand, and there’s nothing more distracting than loud continual laughter, conversing or shouting going on around you. Be respectful of the general noise level of the office and keep your own noise levels to a minimum.
- Cracking Jokes
Unfortunately things you might find funny, other people may find offensive, annoying or just rude. So remember while it is important to have a sense of humour in the office, it’s also important to remember that cracking jokes and trying to be funny probably won’t be received well in the long run.
- Eating Stinky Food
In an enclosed environment, there’s nothing worse than someone bringing in stinky food is there? Tuna sandwiches, hot sausage rolls, egg mayo rolls, cheese and onion crisps – just don’t. Keep your food as neutral as your humour when at work.
- Stig Of The Dump
Be on your most clean and tidy behaviour when at work – people get resentful very quickly when it comes to cleaning up other people’s mess. Don’t leave your pots in the sink, leave a stain on the floor or leave old food in the fridge.
- Neggie Nellie
There’s nothing worse that someone who sees the doom and gloom in absolutely everything. The complainer, the negative person who moans about every single task that needs doing. Nothing like bringing everyone else down is there? don’t be Neggie Nellie, be Pozzie Peter and let the sunshine in.
- Drama Queen
There’s nothing worse than someone who hams up every single story or situation to make it worthy of a Coronation Street Special. The more you dramatise everything the more people will stop listening to what you have to say and assume you’re just crying wolf again. Keep calm and explain things as they are, don’t lose your head and turn everything into a dramatic movie like sequence – it will get boring very quickly.