OFFICE ETIQUETTEHOW GOOD IS YOUR VISITOR ETIQUETTE?“Your manners are always under examination, and by committees little suspected,awarding or denying you very high prizes when you least think of it." - Ralph Waldo EmersonWell, the least suspected committee may well turn out to be your next employer and theprize, your ideal job! You never know. So, if you happen to travel a lot, hobnob withclients and visit other offices as part of your work schedule, ensure that your manners areimpeccable and your visiting etiquette, intact.So, how good is your visitor etiquette? Evaluate yourself by going through these simplebut effective rules. Be punctual and if you’re 5 minutes early, even better. This indicates that you respectother people’s time.Dont stroll into a place as if it’s your own.Be polite to everyone you meet irrespective of if it’s the receptionist or the CEO.If the office that you are visiting needs you to sign in, and take a visitor card, complywith the protocol. You could supply the receptionist with your visiting card.While waiting, dont try to chat up the receptionist, in case you’re feeling bored! While waiting in someones office, dont touch anything on his/her desk or around his/herroom. Similarly, his/her reading material is his/her own, and is not there for you to killtime with. Carry your own pens and note pads; it looks very unprofessional when you ask to borrowtheirs. Get your work done and leave. This is not a social visit so don’t grab every opportunityto chitchat.On your way out, remember to thank the receptionist!ENFORCING OFFICE EMAIL ETIQUETTEE
What is email etiquette? Well, here is a list of the top email etiquette rules you need tonote.1. Be concise and to the point.Do not make an e-mail longer than it needs to be. Remember that reading an e-mail isharder than reading printed communications.2. Answer all questions, and pre-empt further questions.An email reply must answer all questions, and pre-empt further questions – If you do notanswer all the questions in the original email, you will receive further e-mails regardingthe unanswered questions, which will not only waste your time and your customer’s timebut also cause considerable frustration.3. Use proper spelling, grammar & punctuation.This is not only important because improper spelling, grammar and punctuation give abad impression of your company, it is also important for conveying the message properly.E-mails with no full stops or commas are difficult to read and can sometimes evenchange the meaning of the text.4. Answer swiftly.E-mails are sent as people wish to receive a quick response. Each e-mail should bereplied to within at least 24 hours, and preferably within the same working day.5. Do not attach unnecessary files.By sending large attachments you can annoy others and even bring down their e-mailsystem. Wherever possible try to compress attachments.6. Use proper structure & layout.Since reading from a screen is more difficult than reading from paper, the structure andlay out is very important for e-mail messages. Use short paragraphs and blank linesbetween each paragraph. When making points, number them or mark each point asseparate to keep the overview.7. Do not overuse the high priority option.If you overuse the high priority option, it will lose its function when you really need it.8. Do not write in CAPITALS.IF YOU WRITE IN CAPITALS IT SEEMS AS IF YOU ARE SHOUTING. This can behighly annoying and might trigger an unwanted response in the form of a flame mail.Therefore, try not to send any email text in capitals.9. Read the email before you send it.A lot of people dont bother to read an email before they send it out, as can be seen fromthe many spelling and grammar mistakes contained in emails. Apart from this, readingyour email through the eyes of the recipient will help you send a more effective messageand avoid misunderstandings and inappropriate comments.
10. Do not overuse Reply to All.Only use Reply to All if you really need your message to be seen by each person whoreceived the original message.11. Do not use email to discuss confidential information.Sending an email is like sending a postcard. If you dont want your email to be displayedon a bulletin board, dont send it. Moreover, never p make any libelous, sexist or raciallydiscriminating comments in emails, even if they are meant to be a joke.12. Use cc: field sparingly.Try not to use the cc: field unless the recipient in the cc: field knows why they arereceiving a copy of the message. Using the cc: field can be confusing since the recipientsmight not know who is supposed to act on the message.WHEN TAKING UP A NEW JOB...It could be your first job or your first day in a new environment, how would you behave,how would you like to dress? You got to remember whatever you do, all eyes will be onyou.Well here are few tips you can use to your benefit.Get to work on timeWhile this might sound trivial, the fundamentals are that you should be at your desk andready to work at the time your shift starts. While everyone understands that once in awhile you could be caught in a traffic jam, just make sure you turning up late doesn’t turninto a habit.Never under-dressAsk around, check out what’s acceptable and not. While some offices demand a formalattire, casuals are acceptable in most offices nowadays. Your colleagues and co-workersshouldn’t feel that you have dressed too casually. Also keep yourself updated with thelatest reforms in fashion for parties and weekends.Try to keep your voice downMost offices have cubicles as a work space; your sharing is always interesting for theother person, right? Wrong. The occasional laughing or cursing fits you throw can beextremely disruptive to your co-workers. Not only do they get enlightened with thingsthey never wished, but also get disturbed in their normal routine.Stay away from office gossipsThere’s a fine line between polite conversations and down right nosiness. We guess youdon’t want to get caught in the firing range of all the back stabbing and never ending
office gossips. Staying away from all this will ensure you work with a proper frame ofmind.The office phone’s not a PCOWhile most people blatantly use office phones calling everyone and anyone they know,it’s simply not right. Do limit your personal phone calls. There’s a difference in using theoffice phone in making an important appointment and calling your buddy and chatting forhours.Leaving on timeIt’s perfectly Ok to leave on time, simply don’t shut your computer down and sit by yourdesk waiting for the hour to strike. People notice these actions and it’s not appreciated.Make a point to leave after your scheduled time.And if this is not your first ‘real’ job, and you are guilty of breeching any of the abovetips, you definitely need a refresher course in office etiquette.ARE YOU CONTRIBUTING TO OFFICE WOES?Most people need a constant reminder that the workplace is not their personal apartment.So the next time you feel like making your presence known or felt, just watch the wayyou do it.Here are few tips on how you can ensure no one feels you’re a pain at work.Keep a tab on the volumesWhile most workplaces allow their employees to listen to music as they work, make sureyou’re humming or singing or choice of music doesn’t irritate the person next to you. Amost common nuisance is the jarring volumes on your mobile phones. Set a pleasant ringtone on your mobile and at a level not too loud. Watch your volume even when you arethinking aloud or plainly rapping your fingers on your desk.Watch those crumbsAfter eating make it a point to clean up. Wipe up the crumbs and spills. Laying out papernapkins for your dining space will help in keeping the dining table clean. Don’t forget toput all wrappers and other wastes in the lunchroom garbage after you’ve finished. No onelikes to eat in a dirty dinning area.Hygiene habitsMake it a point to flush the toilet after use. Your crusade against water conservationshould not result in others dying of stench. Simple things such as keeping the toilet floorsclean, using the toilet bin go a long way in maintaining a clean and hygienic space.Respect personal space
Don’t force your partner to draw enemy lines. Respect your colleagues’ space. Do notclutter. Put your personal stuff in drawers or cabinets. Also make it a habit of not peepinginto your colleagues’ workspace. What they do is extremely confidential.WhereaboutsLeave a word about your whereabouts by jotting down or pinning a note to your desk.Leave a word where you are with those who need to know. Remember your colleagueisn’t your secretary to take your messages.Of Handbags & BriefcasesEver been to lunch or a meeting, and wondered where to keep your handbag or briefcase?Avoid fidgeting. Use these guidelines:• At a meeting, place on the table only those writing materials, documents or folders thatare essential. Samples, etc. can be produced at an appropriate time.• At a social meal, nothing other than your food, your crockery and cutlery, and tabledecorations go n the table. If it’s a business meal, you may keep essential papers on thetable, but remember this is not your office, and avoid a paper-spill over.• Handbags and briefcases go on the floor, by the side of your chair. Cell-phones, whichshould either be shut off, or put in a silent/vibrator mode, should be in your bag orpocket, out of sight.Tired Of Running Errands For Your Boss?In an ideal workplace, the boss never asks a subordinate to do any personal work for him.Reality, however, is very different. Here’s how to deal with demanding bosses.• If you are asked to do your boss’s personal chores and telling him outright that youcan’t is beyond the limits of your courage, try putting it off and citing pressing officework as reason. Faced with this tactic a few times, even an insensitive person will takethe hint.• Another method is to tell him, in a casual manner—preferably away from the officeenvironment, that official work doesn’t give you time to do any personal chores. Hemight not be thrilled about it, but a mixture of diplomacy and firmness should convincehim.• As a senior executive, don’t ask your juniors to run errands for you. You know theyhave a right to refuse, but you also know chances are they will not. Resentment doesn’tmake for the best work environment!
Getting Your Fax RightYes, there is faxing etiquette as well, which is a very important aspect of businesscommunication.• When sending a fax, always include a cover sheet specifying whom the message ismeant for.• Type your message whenever possible. If you have to write it out, use capital letters.• Corrections made using correction fluid show up as dark blotches, so make aphotocopy, and use this to send the message.• Many people receive their faxes on a computer, so make sure the paper is inserted theright side up. If it isn’t, the message can’t be read unless it’s printed out!• Remember fax paper is expensive; don’t send out unnecessary or needlessly longmessages. Also, call and check if the timing is convenient before sending out very longfax messages.• Don’t fax personal or confidential messages unless you intend it to be office gossip. Ifsuch information has to be sent, do call ahead and inform the recipient so that he canpersonally retrieve it.