Workplace Wednesday: Office Etiquette  - Hearing and Speech Agency

Workplace Wednesday: Office Etiquette

Most people spend ⅓ of their day at work. Considering that you spend another ⅓ of the day asleep, what you do at work is a huge part of who you are.



Office etiquette helps reduce conflicts and improve everyone’s workplace experience. Here are some key tips:

Stick to your own space. Don’t do anything that might “leave” your space and disturb others. Does your lunch have a smell that will waft to your neighbor’s desk? Eat it in the break room. Did you forget your headphones? Find some to borrow or forgo music for the day. Sound that leaves your workspace should be agreed upon by everyone who it affects. The same goes for your belongings. However tidy or messy your desk/office may be, keep it contained. No one likes to find your day-old mug on their desk.


Respect “leave me alone” signals. Everyone has their own way of communicating that they do not want to be bothered. It may be headphones or a closed door. It may be a chair turned away from the bullpen or time scheduled in a private room. Regardless, respect these signals and do not interrupt unless what you have to say is urgent and work-related. If someone you work closely with seems to always have their “leave me alone” flag up, discuss some times they are free to collaborate or the ways they prefer to interact (such as an IM or quick email, rather than a full conversation).


Give the benefit of the doubt. Your coworker may not realize that taking their morning conference call on speakerphone disturbs your most productive time of day. Suggest that they use a headset or offer up a space that you know may be free (a conference room, etc.). As we always say at HASA, Communication Matters. Assume that others have the best intentions, but do not hesitate to communicate your needs and concerns. Encourage others to do the same and etiquette around your workplace will improve in no time!


When in doubt, ask! Simply saying, “Would it bother you if I…?” opens the door to dialogue and can eliminate conflicts before they take root.

Hearing and Speech AgencyHarry and Jeanette Weinberg Building 5900 Metro Drive Baltimore, MD 21215 410.318.6780