Navigating a new office can feel like a social minefield. While it’s true that there are many ways to make mistakes in the office, for the most part if you follow basic etiquette, you’ll avoid embarrassing yourself. Here are five tips for surviving in any office:
Keep your cell phone on silent.
Texting and personal phone calls may be allowed in your office, but listening to someone else’s ringtone and alert sounds all day can be distracting, or even annoying. If you’re in a cubicle, it’s best to keep your phone on silent and keep personal calls short. If you need to be on the phone for longer, consider waiting until lunch.
Avoid the “Reply All” button.
If you have a question about an e-mail that was sent to multiple people, think twice before hitting “reply all.” Is it a general question, and are you asking everyone in the group? Or is it something that only affects you, like a scheduling conflict? If so, just reply to the person can answer your question and avoid clogging up your coworkers’ inboxes.
Clean up your messes.
When you think of a mess, you may think of spilled food or a full trash bag, but there are office messes, too. If you send a job to the printer and get a low paper warning, refill the tray when you pick up your documents. If the copier gets a paper jam while you’re working on it, don’t walk away and leave it for the next person to fix. If you take the last cup of coffee, get another pot started.
Behave yourself in the break room.
Many an office fight has started over the contents of the break room fridge, so it’s best for you to follow this rule: if you didn’t put it in the fridge, don’t take it out. Keep in mind that you should also make sure that none of your food rots in the fridge and you don’t have a coffee mug molding in the sink. Don’t let anything overstay its welcome.
Be a teetotaler.
If you have social events with your coworkers where alcohol is served, you should always drink in moderation. Being drunk at an office function isn’t only embarrassing for you, but it’s uncomfortable for your coworkers. You can avoid the problem entirely by opting out of alcohol at company events. You can still socialize and have fun, just without the worry of making a faux pas in front of people you have to see every day.
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