Workplace Etiquette 101: The Mistakes You Want to Avoid
4:15 pm, June 17th | by Sarah Kaufman, Manilla.com
Have you ever held a dead fish before? I haven’t, either. But I envision it feeling cold, sometimes clammy and always limp.
That’s a lot like what a weak handshake feels like.
But the fact that it feels like a dead fish isn’t the main issue — sure, it’s gross, but it’s definitely something that everyone can get past at some point. The main problem is that weak handshakes can exhibit low levels of engagement, poor communication skills and some degree of apathy. To ensure that you’re always showing people you’re on top of your game, give a firm, quick handshake and you’ll be good to go.
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Spamming everyone in your office
To avoid annoying all of your co-workers, only hit “reply all” on an email chain when it’s absolutely necessary. An example of when you should “reply all” would be if there’s an important ongoing group conversation about a client where everyone needs to see your input. An example of when you should not “reply all” would be if someone is scheduling a meeting with 10 different people and you respond to everyone on the thread with, “Works for me!” Once that happens, here’s what the rest of the chain will look like:
“Works for me.”
“I can do that time.”
“Can we look at Tuesday?”
“I can’t do Tuesday.”
“Sorry, I meant Wednesday.”
And so on.
In this case, the best thing to do would be to reply only to the person scheduling so that she can compile the times that work best for everyone. She’ll then send a confirmation email letting everyone know of the time, which will create two basic emails (one for the initial scheduling, then one for the confirmation) instead of 20 (literally).
Also, when it comes to “circling back” on an issue that your co-worker hasn’t responded to, wait at least a few days before following up. Chances are, your co-worker is thinking of how best to answer the email, and constantly probing her for a response is not the way to get the reply you want.
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Not responding to emails
And while we’re talking about the frequency of sending emails, don’t be the person who doesn’t respond at all. It’s not always necessary to respond to an email, but a basic confirm of receipt is often appreciated.
Yes, there is a wrong way to make introductions, so try to avoid it. The right way to do it is like this: When making an introduction, it’s appropriate to introduce the more junior person to the more senior person. For example, if a former manager-level co-worker Lauren Smith would like an introduction to your former CEO-level boss Pam Jones, you would say, “Pam, I’d like you to meet Lauren Smith.” This goes for email and in-person introductions.
Also, in the case of email, if you’re the one getting the introduction, move the introducer to BCC to avoid the aforementioned unnecessary spamming.
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Getting drunk at office parties
Don’t do this! Sure, you have co-workers you’re close with or even consider your friends, but having one too many drinks in front of your boss shows lack of control and overall poor judgment. To avoid an embarrassing situation that you will not be able to undo, have no more than three drinks (and even fewer if you know you can’t handle it).
We’re all late sometimes. When it happens rarely and for good reason, it’s nothing to lose sleep over. But avoid being chronically late to your desk, to meetings, to lunches, and in general because it will reflect poorly on you. And trust me — your boss will notice.
One of the least attractive qualities in an employee or co-worker is laziness. Do your job, and do it well. Be proactive, be a go-getter, and show your boss and your co-workers that you’re someone they can count on. The best way to do this is find what motivates you so that you always feel challenged and so that you want to do good work.
Sarah Kaufman is the editor-in-chief of the Manilla Blog and marketing manager at Manilla.com, the leading, free and secure service that helps consumers to simplify and organize their daily lives. Using just one password, customers can manage their finances, utilities, daily deals, travel and rewards programs, Netflix and magazine subscriptions, OpenTable reservations, and more — all through Manilla.com or the 4+ star customer-rated iOS and Android mobile apps. For more career tips, visit the Manilla Blog.