Good manners are important

When it comes to maintaining a happy and positive working environment, manners are up there as one of the most important things. No one likes a rude work colleague, and it can have an adverse effect on relationships in the office and can create a bad atmosphere. This can filter through to the work, and an unpleasant vibe can be obvious to your clients and visitors.

Before changing or moving anything that has an impact on other people, check that they are okay with your actions. This involves things like adjusting the music volume, putting on the air conditioning or the heating, and opening and closing windows. Not checking first is inconsiderate, and no one will thank you for it.

As with outside of the office, saying please and thank you is important. Manners are free, and your colleagues will almost certainly notice if you do not use them. We also advise that before taking anything from your fellow workers, you ask first, and always give it back when you have finished with it, without them having to remind you.

Respecting your colleague’s workspace is essential. To avoid disrupting others, if you need a meeting or a conversation, try to do it somewhere else and not where others are trying to work, or at the very least, keep your voices as quiet as possible.

Be on time

Occasionally being late is something beyond our control. Public transport can be notoriously flaky, especially when there is the slightest hint of bad weather. Cars sometimes don’t start, or there is an accident on the motorway that halts your commute. These things can’t be helped, but when you know that you are going to be late, the polite course of action is to phone and explain the situation. Leaving colleagues and clients in the dark as to your whereabouts and estimated time of arrival is considered the height of rudeness, as is persistent and unavoidable lateness. It is also considered extremely unprofessional.

In the same vein, if you have been given a particular time to turn up for an appointment or a meeting, try not to turn up more than five minutes or so before they are expecting you. Those last few minutes might be needed by the host to prepare things and get themselves ready to see you.

Hygiene matters

When you work in close proximity to others, which in an office you typically do, personal hygiene is important. Make sure that your clothes look and smell clean and that your nails and hair are clean and your breath smells fresh. There is absolutely nothing worse than sitting next to someone with questionable personal hygiene, and it can give your company a bad reputation with clients. At the other end of the scale, don’t go over the top with the perfume or aftershave. It can be incredibly intrusive and unpleasant.

Make sure that you clean up after yourself as well, particularly in the kitchen or the break room. No one wants to be washing up your plate after lunch or your mugs that you leave lying around everywhere. Don those rubber gloves and clean up your mess. Also, try to avoid making or bringing particularly odorous foods into the office - fish, eggs and garlic can leave a pong that lingers for hours!

It is also important to stay at home and rest if you are unwell. No one wants to be sitting next to someone sneezing, coughing and spluttering, and they certainly do not want your germs, so stay snuggled up in bed - your colleagues and clients will be thankful for it. 

Make the right impression

Clients will often make a judgement about you and your business in the first few minutes of meeting you, so those first impressions really do matter. Obviously, your pitch has to be perfect, but more often than not it is the small details that are noticed the most: is the meeting room clean and welcoming? Has it been vacuumed, perhaps a vase with fresh flowers and some coffee and a jug of water for them to help themselves to? Make sure that they know where the toilet is (and that it’s clean and fully stocked!), and that they receive a warm welcome. Have someone ready to take their outwear and show them where to go. Read more about making the right impression here.


The way you communicate with your colleagues, clients and visitors always needs thinking about, whether it is a face to face interaction, phone conversation, emails or even a post-it note left on a desk. Tone is very hard to convey in written forms of conversation, so ensure that you think about the way the recipient may read it. Never type in capital letters either - it is the written equivalent of shouting at someone!