Employees who practice good office etiquette make working productively much easier for themselves and their colleagues.

We recently conducted a survey to find how employees view etiquette in the workplace, and the results are rather staggering.

What is Office Etiquette?

Office or workplace etiquette is an unwritten code of socially acceptable, polite behaviour that should be upheld in the workplace to ensure that everyone can work happily and productively. Having good manners, treating people with respect and following processes correctly all fall under the category of ‘good office etiquette’.
Physical Contact
Personal Hygiene
Small Talk
Avoiding Communal Tasks

What irritates employees in the workplace?

In our recent survey, we asked employees questions about their experiences and opinions of etiquette in the workplace.

We asked them about:
Rudeness in the workplace
Physical contact in the workplace
Personal hygiene in the office
Small talk
Avoiding communal tasks

Rudeness in the workplace

78% of the employees we asked said they had directly experienced some form of rudeness in the workplace. Interestingly, 92% of the employees we asked said they had never been accused of workplace rudeness despite 78% being on the receiving end.
Had Not
Type of rudeness experienced in the workplace
Been Sworn at in the workplaceBeen reprimanded in front of peersBeen spoken over in a meeting:Had a personal remark made about their outfit:

Physical contact in the workplace

94% of employees said they thought that some forms of physical contact in the workplace are totally acceptable!
Type of physical contact
A pat on the shoulder A high-five A hug A fist bump A kiss on the cheek

Workplace personal hygiene issues

A huge 72% of employees we asked said that they would take action if they were working with a colleague who had poor hygiene.
Tell the person directly
Raise the issue with HR
Wouldn't do anything
How would the problem be dealt with?
Who would voice their concerns to/about a colleague
Men Women

Small talk in the workplace

An unbelievable 81% of employees that we asked said that office small talk was irritating! With talk about football or children cited as the MOST annoying.
Not Irritating
Small Talk
Trash talking colleagues & clients Forced pleasantries Talking about the weather

Communal tasks in the workplace

We asked employees how many of them had avoided making a cup of tea or coffee simply because they didn’t want to make one for others in the office…
Avoided making a drink
Avoided making a drink

Ricky Martin on office etiquette

“The results about physical contact are pretty surprising. We often hear and read in the media how physical contact at work isn’t acceptable, yet the results suggest otherwise. Of course, physical contact isn’t always appropriate or well received so I’d advise it’s essential to be aware of factors such as personality, religion and culture. As what might be regarded as friendly in one culture may be deemed as deeply offensive in another! However, as the results suggest should the relationship be there and requited, it shouldn’t be frowned upon for colleagues to hug, high-five or give one another a pat on the back!”
“Workplace disputes and personality clashes are nothing new. What the results show is how direct people are when handling often sensitive issues. I’d always advise that taking an open and honest approach with colleagues will work better in the long-term, but it’s important colleagues are mindful not to unintentionally offend or create further issues in doing so.”
Ricky Martin BSc (Hons) FIRP CertRP MRSCManaging Director, Hyper Recruitment Solutions