The rules you were taught in elementary school — pay attention, don't be late, and if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all — also hold true in the workplace, a new survey from Accountemps confirms. But managers view etiquette problems differently than employees do. The most common civility culprit cited by chief financial officers (CFOs) is being distracted during meetings (27 percent). Workers, on the other hand, pointed to gossiping about colleagues (28 percent) as the most prevalent breach of workplace etiquette.
The surveys were developed by Accountemps, a temporary accounting, finance and bookkeeping professionals, and conducted by an independent research firm. They include responses from more than 2,100 CFOs from a stratified random sample of companies in more than 20 of the largest U.S. metropolitan areas and more than 320 employees age 18 and older who work in an office environment.
CFOs and workers were asked, "Which one of the following is the most common breach of workplace etiquette committed by your staff/coworkers?"
"The results show managers might not have a full understanding of how widespread gossip is at work," said Bill Driscoll, a district president of Accountemps. "Likewise, workers may not be aware that their bosses notice distracted behavior during meetings."
Driscoll added, "Most jobs today require teamwork and strong collaboration skills, and that means following the unwritten rules of office protocol. Poor workplace etiquette demonstrates a lack of consideration for coworkers."
Accountemps offers four tips for displaying proper workplace etiquette:
1. Be present. No matter how many deadlines you're up against, give your full attention during group discussions. You'll be surprised how much more effective you are in meetings and conversations when focusing only on the topic at hand.
2. Avoid the rumor mill. Don't participate in office gossip; it's just another distraction that can reflect poorly on your character and damage others' careers.
3. Be responsive. Don't let your inbox fill up with emails or voice mails. Set aside time each day to respond to messages so you can attend to the rest of your workload uninterrupted.
4. Give credit where credit is due. No one likes a glory hog. Acknowledge those who help you along the way, and they'll likely do the same for you.