From Texas to Australia: Office etiquette for wherever you may be

It doesn’t matter where in the world your office or meeting is held, there are a number of universal, unwritten rules that define office etiquette. One of the biggest mistakes you can make in your career is not understanding the difference between professionalism and the lack thereof. Below are six essential tips to make sure you don’t strike out:

Don’t interrupt your colleagues. Not only is it disrespectful, but also it’s a sign of “poor social skills.” Listen to your colleagues when they’re talking and grant them the basic respect. Tip: Texting can also be considered an interruption, so leave your phone in your office or put it away when you have a meeting in your office.

Don’t be loud. Obviously, this doesn’t mean be silent and ignore people, but it does mean to keep your noise out of earshot of those who might be on the phone. Also, take note on how loud your music may actually be through your headset. Also, this rule is mainly for everyday office courtesy – birthdays, all office meetings, etc. don’t necessarily fall under this category.

Don’t use slang or text-speak. I think everyone can catch themselves one time or another saying something they would in a text, but don’t get in the habit. Most of the time, internal emails can stay casual, but when you send an email to a client or potential client, you want to handle it with the utmost professionalism. And don’t forget, especially when emailing among colleagues, that emails can be kept on a company’s record for years!

Hold back on the perfume, but don’t forget deodorant. When you come to work or attend a meeting, one or two sprays should be perfect. Many people are also allergic to perfume and can start reacting with sneezes or watering eyes, and I know I would be so embarrassed if my perfume ever did that to one of my colleagues or clients. With that said, make sure you’re always professional looking and that you put your best foot forward.

Be on time. This should be obvious, but make sure if you’re late that it’s NOT on a consistent basis. Even if you’re not the one showing up late, you’ve probably been annoyed with someone who has because you’re waiting on them for their piece of a project. It’s just common courtesy.  Remember, if you’re not early, you’re late.

Be Responsive. Nothing will irritate your colleagues and clients more than you ignoring their emails. Most of the time, people will understand you’re busy, but even dropping a quick line saying you’ll respond in more detail later can save a lot of aggravation.