5 ways to follow rules of office etiquette

By Shreya Biswas, ET Bureau | 4 Jun, 2013, 04.00AM IST


Around four months ago, a mid-level executive's casual dress sense cost him a plum posting in an international engineering and design company. The company couldn't risk having a leader whose team members didn't pay him any heed. Employees need to constantly be aware of office etiquette, to avoid running into the bad books of colleagues, team leaders and the management. ET explores ways to fit in.

Dress Like a Professional 

Even in a workplace where there is no dress code, one shouldn't go over the top. "You shouldn't arrive in hot pants or pyjamas. Workplaces have some amount of seriousness attached to them," says Jitendra Singh, professor, organisational behaviour, XLRI, Jamshedpur. 

Draw Relationship Boundaries 

A senior woman executive at a north-based manufacturing company had to recently quit after she entered into an intimate relationship with a top boss. The families of both the executives, who were married with children, blamed the company for not handling the issue well. The incident had serious repercussions on the company's goodwill, besides destroying the executives' careers. "This is why one should clearly draw the line when it comes to office relationships," says Singh. 

Be Careful with the Jokes 

Jokes on physical appearances, caste, creed, religion, language and sexual orientation should not be used as stress busters in office. "Not only it will brand you as an intolerant and narrow-minded individual, but it might earn you enemies at the workplace," says Sunil Goel, MD, GlobalHunt, India.

Interact with Everybody 

In today's world, when work is all about cross-functional participation, talking or interacting with a select group may cost you dearly. Instead, reach out to people outside your team with equal interest. 

Cultivate Humility 

Some employees - especially the better performers — often do not co-operate with colleagues, make people wait or even ignore requests made by other functions. "But they might get back the same treatment they meted out to others, so people need to be careful while dealing with others," says K Sudarshan, managing partner — India and regional VP, Asia, EMA Partners International.