Good manners are vital to positive, happy colleague relations and a work environment. Always remember to ask before adjusting anything that affects the commune as a whole, i.e. heating, opening windows or the volume of music. Failing to do so may result in being seen as rude and inconsiderate, and nobody wants to be the office bad guy!

Mind those Ps and Qs! Making a real effort to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ costs nothing, and is always remembered among your fellow workers. It is best to ask before borrowing anything from your co-workers – and always remember to return it when you’ve finished!

Always have respect for your colleague’s space. If you want to hold a meeting of more than two people, try to do it away from your desk to avoid interrupting or distracting those around you. If there are just a couple of you, remember to keep your voice to a minimum.


Of course, sometimes lateness can’t be helped – we all know how public transport systems can come grinding to a halt at the slightest prospect of precipitation or ‘leaves on the line’. However, the decent thing to do in situations like this is to call ahead. Letting people know where you are and when you are expected to arrive is just plain courteous. Consistent unexplained lateness is disrespectful and a clear sign of unprofessionalism.

On the other hand, if you’ve been given a time to arrive for a meeting or interview you shouldn’t arrive any more than 5 minutes early. This allows whoever you are meeting to make final preparations or adjustments and be totally ready for your arrival.


Hygiene is seriously important when you are working in an office – especially if it isn’t very big! It’s always best to ensure your clothes are clean and tidy and that you have clean hair and nails. There is nothing more off-putting than un-cleanliness and you could end up with a bad name among your colleagues. At the other end of the spectrum, too much aftershave or perfume can be equally intrusive – so lay off the spritzing!

Nobody likes doing other people’s dirty work – so get washing up those plates and mugs. Try not to cook or eat any stinky foods in the office, as this can really distract your co-workers and cause an unpleasant environment.

You will rarely be praised for dragging your sick self into the office, especially if you are contagious. There is no point in spreading your germs to everyone else around you, and a bad cough or sniffle can become extremely irritating after a few hours – if you’re ill, stay in bed and recover to your top form! Read about other annoying office habits that you might have here.

Client Meetings

First impressions can often be your only chance to make a great impact. You must do everything in your power to ensure your client is comfortable and will respond positively to your pitches. This can mean everything from hoovering the floors to making sure they know where the bathroom is and are provided with coffee and snacks. It is always lovely to receive a warm welcome into a new environment, so it can be a good idea to assign someone to take care of their coats and introduce them to the office. Find out what else you can do to make your meeting a success here.


There are so many different forms of communication that crop up in day to day office life. Always keep an eye on how you are coming across in e-mails, conversations and even your body language. A great deal can get lost in translation across cyberspace, so make sure your e-mails are always polite, friendly and NEVER IN CAPS LOCK BECAUSE THIS LOOKS LIKE YOU ARE CROSS.

It is always good to make an effort to sit up and look attentive and involved during meetings and other conversations – yawning is a no-no! Did you know that 65% of communication is non-verbal? By standing when someone enters a room, shaking hands confidently and keeping your body language open and approachable, you will ensure you are remembered for all the right reasons.