A Little Courtesy, Please

Compiled By Dave Schafer There is less courtesy in the workplace than there was five years ago, say nearly half of respondents in a new survey developed by staffing services firm OfficeTeam. According to the Menlo Park, Calif.-based company, the survey includes responses from 525 men and women employed full-time in professional environments. Respondents were asked, "Do you think the level of professional courtesy in the workplace has increased or decreased over the last five years?" Of the respondents, 44% say courtesy has decreased, while 36% say it has increased. "In today's fast-paced business environment, it's not unusual for people to pay less attention to matters of workplace etiquette and protocol," says Liz Hubler, executive director, OfficeTeam. "But time spent showing consideration for others is a smart career investment. People have long memories when it comes to how you treat them; the courtesy you extend will be noticed and reciprocated." Hubler offers tips for being more courteous to fellow workers:

  • Never assume a co-worker is less busy than you are. Show respect by sticking to project deadlines, returning messages promptly, and arriving on time to meetings.
  • Don't inconvenience others by leaving last week's leftovers in the office refrigerator or paper jammed in the copier.
  • Remember to say "please" and "thank you," even in brief e-mails. If you sense a problem or have bad news to deliver, don't play phone tag -- meet in person.
  • Be sensitive to your co-workers' need for privacy. Knock before entering anyone's workspace.
  • Always let your manager know when you've received help on a project and be sure to praise your colleagues on job well done.
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