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Business Etiquette for the job – the rules you should follow

1. Your demeanour

You should always be friendly and polite towards your colleagues and especially your superiors. You are expected to heed the hierarchy and approach your counterpart with respect, even with differences of opinion. Make sure that you don’t get on anyone’s bad side or embarrass yourself with certain statements. No matter how agitating your coworkers or boss can be, don’t snap in front of them.

2. Keep your distance

Make absolutely sure to keep your distance around colleagues or superiors. Stay an arm’s length away. Each person has his own comfort zone. Don’t overstep the boundary; otherwise you’ll turn people off quickly and have to expect rejection.

3. The right clothes

Surely, it’s clear that you shouldn’t come to work wearing dirty or torn clothes. However, you can also make mistakes in your choice of clothing. We’ve put together the right dress code for you here. Make sure you have clean shoes. Large stains can draw unwanted attention. By the way, in terms of accessories and perfume, you should err on the side of understatement.

4. Your desk

Your desk should be tidy. Don’t leave any important documents lying out on your desk; put them away and keep them orderly. Each object should have its own spot so that you can clean up quickly at the end of the workday. A chaotic and messy desk can seem overwhelmed and unreliable.

5. Using your smartphone

Very important: Never use your smartphone during a meeting. That is very impolite. In addition, many people feel it’s impolite to leave your smartphone on the table during a meeting. Instead leave it in your pocket or turn the ringer off. Generally speaking, you should be sure to use your private smartphone as little as possible at work.

6. Table manners

Watch your table manners. That applies to lunch breaks with coworkers as well as potential business meals. Avoid embarrassing situations by minding your basic table manners. That includes, for example, using silverware, not slurping or smacking your lips, not eating too much during business meals, and not getting drunk.

7. Compliments

Be frugal with your compliments. Sure, everybody likes to be complimented, and praise feels good and boosts motivation and working morale. Men in particular should abstain from complimenting about their female colleagues’ appearances. Praise their achievements instead.

8. Formal or familiar ‘you’?

In English-speaking countries, you don’t need to ask yourself this question because there’s difference between the formal and the familiar. You just use “you”. However, in countries like Germany, the rule is that the higher-ranking person offers the familiar “you”. Don’t use first names with colleagues without checking first.

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