Insurance Industry News from ProgramBusiness.comOFFICE ETIQUETTE
Provided through the courtesy of RoughNotes and Emily Huling:
"A man's manners are a mirror in which he shows his portrait."
-- Poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832)
My February 2003 column titled "Mind Your P’s and Q’s" certainly hit some hot buttons with readers. Many people e-mailed to tell me the article is prominently posted in breakrooms for all to read and--it is hoped--heed. Even more people suggested topics I should address in another column. So here are some more business etiquette ideas to make you and your organization more professional.
Small children in the workplace require supervision. It’s not uncommon to have young guests in an office who are waiting for their employee parents to take them home or to an appointment. To avoid inappropriate or disruptive behavior, every office needs written and enforced office standards for child guests. Parents are responsible for making sure that their children are quietly occupied, whether it’s in the parent’s workstation or in a specified play area. At no time should a child be allowed to run freely or have access to anyone else’s workspace.
The same guidelines hold true for children of visiting clients. If objectionable behavior is apparent, be courteous, but firm, in asking clients to adhere to your office policy.
Handling unwanted e-mails. Many businesses prohibit or restrict using the e-mail system for personal use. Whatever your company’s position, it’s important that the policy be clearly communicated and enforced.
However, what do you do when it’s a coworker or business associate who is sending unwanted e-mails to you? I recently asked a client, very politely, to remove me from his e-mail joke list. He laughed and said, "I only send you the good stuff!" and then proceeded to keep me on his list.
The appropriate business practice is to NOT send nonbusiness e-mail! Put a policy in place to stop unprofessional e-mail practices.
Who should open the door first? Business etiquette is not the same as social etiquette. Gender is not a factor. Whoever gets to the door first opens it. However, ladies, if you are with a male colleague who is a door opener, let him do it. The bottom line--no fighting over who should open the door.
Shaking hands. Proactively extending your hand to a colleague demonstrates self-confidence and professionalism. Because of social tradition, some men are hesitant about initiating a handshake with a woman. It used to be considered proper for a man to wait until a woman extended her hand. To show equal footing in the business world, both men and women can take the initiative to extend a friendly hand.
Here are several reminders for a proper handshake. If seated, always rise and face your associate to shake hands. Extend your right hand with your thumb up and palm at a not quite ninety degree angle to the floor. Interlock hands firmly, but not too tightly, at the thumb joint and pump two or three times. Finally, let go and drop your hand.
Protect your colleagues from embarrassment. It may seem uncomfortable to tell someone his fly is open, his nose is dirty, her teeth are wearing lettuce, or her slip is showing. But the longer the embarrassing situation continues, the more upsetting it is for the person when he or she discovers it. Do the right thing and discreetly let the person know. If you don’t feel close enough to the coworker, quietly tell someone who knows him or her better to pass the word along.
Chronic personal issues. Most businesses have dress code policies (enforced—it is hoped) so this section covers other personal issues that get in the way of a positive, professional presence. Many times the guilty party may not even be aware that he or she has an annoying habit or behavior. Nervous habits such as a bobbing head whClick for the whole story...