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Workplace Etiquette

Workplace Etiquette: Definition, Examples, Importance


Working in some professional settings has its own demands and expectations. The workplace has behavioral expectations. An office setting demands your interaction with others and your own presentation according to their own customs. Workplace etiquette is important in shaping the trajectory of your future. Having a basic understanding of workplace etiquette can help you grow in the office and have better work relationships. But what is workplace etiquette? How to behave according to workplace etiquette? Do not worry, in this blog, we will elaborate on workplace etiquette definitions, workplace etiquette examples, the importance of workplace etiquette, and types of workplace etiquette that define how you can improve them.

Key Takeaways

  • Workplace Etiquette is defined as a set of manners including behavior, body language, communication, technology, etc. that are expected in an office.
  • Examples of Workplace Etiquette include greeting colleagues, active listening, keeping shared spaces clean, and respectful communication.
  • Workplace Etiquette is important as it promotes respect, enhances productivity, improves interpersonal relationships, and fosters a professional culture.
  • Types of Workplace Etiquette include communication, meeting behavior, dress code, table manners, professionalism, and conflict resolution.

Workplace Etiquette Definition

A set of manners including behavior, body language, communication, technology, etc. that are expected in an office is called workplace etiquette. These are endorsed by customs to regulate the social behavioral expectations and all employees are required to obey these. While the employees are treated offensively if they are found involved in any act in violation of workplace etiquette. All other members usually criticize and disown such colleagues.

In essence, business etiquette is a term defining how you conduct yourself at work in front of your business partners, superiors, colleagues, and even customers. The expected behavior should include respecting everyone and staying polite. However, business etiquette is not a rigid set of expected behaviors and may vary from institute to institute. The workplace culture defines workplace etiquette. In this blog, we will learn some basic business etiquette that are universal.

Workplace Etiquette Examples

Some universal workplace etiquette examples include greeting everyone kindly and acknowledging them while interacting. ‘How are you’ is a common but widely used phrase in this context. A smile should always dominate your face to give welcoming vibes to others. The shared spaces like break rooms, kitchen, etc. need to be cleaned up after use. Likewise, it is a compulsion on you to return the shared office items including stationary, crockery, etc. Basic office etiquette also includes the use of technology where if you took someone’s system fully charged you should give him back with the same charging, or if you have ended the ink of the printer it is an obligation on you to fill it back. Another workplace etiquette example includes active listening and showing respect in discussion of discriminatory topics to evade job burnout.

Workplace Etiquette Importance

The importance of workplace etiquette lies in the results they produce. When all employees follow it, ultimately, a sense of respect prevails which improves the interpersonal relations of employees. This makes the workplace culture professional and helps everyone perform productively when given due respect. The trickle-down impact also improves the customer base of the business.

Practicing workplace etiquette makes your and others’ job easier. You enjoy your workplace while workplace etiquette violations might bring unpleasant situations where basic rights can even be challenged. Any act with seems disrespectful is considered a workplace etiquette violation. But if all employees practice workplace etiquette then the collaboration will increase and healthy work relationships will prevail. The importance of workplace ethics lies in smoothing work procedures by minimizing misunderstandings.

Types of Workplace Etiquette

There are not any well-defined types of workplace etiquette but we will try to categorize the expected behaviors. You can also consider a few general questions to guide your basic manner. These include:

  1. How do you interact with shoppers or consumers?
  2. How do you present yourself during company-sponsored social events?
  3. How do you engage with your colleagues and manager?
  4. What is your behavior like during meetings?
  5. How do you behave in your cabinet or office?
  6. How do you compose and send emails?
  7. How do you behave in the break room?
  8. How much adherence do you have with the dress code?
  9. How do you handle yourself on the telephone?
  10. How do you get yourself involved during training sessions?

A few of these categories include:

  1. Communication etiquette (Verbal, Non-Verbal, Phone, Digital)
  2. Dress code and personal grooming
  3. Meetings Etiquette (In-person and Virtual)
  4. Professionalism
  5. Table manners and meal etiquette
  6. Dealing with colleagues and handling difficult situations

Let us discuss these in detail which will help you learn how to improve your workplace etiquette:

Communication Etiquette

Communication is the key to making or breaking bonds. Let us learn some basic communication etiquette by dividing it into 5 categories:

Verbal Communication

Verbal communication, also referred to as in-person communication, should also reflect professionalism in communication. When you interact with someone in the office, avoid passing comments on someone’s physical appearance be it positive or negative as it makes people uneasy. Instead of this become an active listener and concentrate on what they are trying to convey while avoiding interruptions. The volume of your voice should match with theirs and it should be clear to understand.

Non-Verbal Communication

Non-verbal communication etiquette includes your body language and gestures. You should keep eye contact with them but not more than sixty to seventy percent of the time. Likewise, your facial expressions should complement the situation.

Phone Etiquette

Maintaining an audible tone of voice that should neither be too loud nor too soft is considered professional. The tone should be professional but should appear pleasant. For confirmation consider asking questions like “Am I being clear? Would you prefer if I spoke louder or softer?” or “Should I adjust my volume?” Consider muting your mic during conference calls when you are not required to speak to avoid distraction. However, when you are interacting with someone, the phone should be kept aside and you should avoid looking at the screen.

Digital Etiquette

Digital etiquette is also categorized as email etiquette. The time duration to reply to emails is a part of email etiquette where one is advised to reply within one day for internal emails and three days for external emails. Professional emails should not include unnecessary use of emojis and exclamation marks. Reply all at once is considered disrespectful so try to avoid it. Revise the email before sending it to correct the grammatical errors.

Dress Code and Personal Grooming

The etiquette regarding dress code and personal grooming includes a hygienic and tidy appearance at work. All employees should adhere to the dress code defined by the workplace culture while the outfit should be properly ironed and stain-free. However, the dress should also comply with occasions like casual Fridays, business meetings, etc. You should not use strong smells at the workplace. Feel free to take off from work if you are feeling sick.

Meetings Etiquette (In-person and Virtual)

Meetings are like a daily task at workplaces that give you a platform to exchange ideas and solve problems. Now meetings can be both in-person or virtual but there are some basic meeting etiquette that we will discuss before getting into details. Every team member should be kept in the loop before the meeting so that everyone should be aware of the meeting agenda and should come prepared. The engagements and time zones of the employees should be considered. The meeting should usually start with the introduction of new team members and there should be some lunch break.

In-person Meetings

For an in-person meeting, all the required equipment should be tested ahead of time. All team members must be given some time to make themselves comfortable before the official proceedings. Questions should be asked at the end or at a designated time rather than in between and everyone should be given a chance to speak. During the meeting, keep your body language professional and do not unnecessarily move or talk.

Virtual Meetings

The biggest mistake in virtual meetings is that people usually look at the screen to see their own faces or the other person. One should face the camera to fake eye contact. You should find a peaceful place for the meeting where there is no noise or interruption. The area visible in the camera should not have any personal items. The lighting and internet connection should be ensured beforehand. Non-verbal communication matters a lot in virtual meetings so ensure that you are appearing active and considerate. The dress code should not be avoided even in virtual meetings.


You should present yourself to be professional by your body language during meetings like by nodding, making eye contact, etc. You should always be on time and avoid chit-chatting during working hours. Also, you should not delay responding to the official messages and keep the tone and conversation professional rather than discussing personal stuff. However, the credit should be shared with team members.

Table manners and meal etiquette

Table manners include more than the mere use of a fork and knife. There are a number of etiquettes to learn but some basic meal etiquette might include the use of a napkin on the lap that should be folded partially and a leftover plate once the meal is over. If you are dining out, you should not go for extra pricy or too cheap items as compared to your colleagues instead see something in a similar range. You should eat once everyone has their food and chew food with closed mouths.

Dealing with colleagues and handling difficult situations

One needs to have professional relationships as discussed already. Interpersonal conflicts and conflictual situations should be dealt with grace, logic, and cool-mindedness. You need to manage stress and should not get involved in workplace politics instead keep a respectful attitude towards coworkers. Workplace diversity should be respected and workplace bullying be avoided. Consider giving constructive criticism to your colleagues. Rumor-mongering and gossiping should be eliminated and no new member should be kept intentionally isolated and should not be harassed.


Workplace etiquette is essential for a successful professional environment. By understanding and practicing workplace etiquette, you not only enhance your own career prospects but also contribute to a positive workplace culture. From communication and dress code to meeting behavior and professionalism, mastering these aspects of workplace etiquette will help you build strong relationships, avoid conflicts, and ensure that you and your colleagues can work together comfortably and effectively.

Frequently Asked Questions Workplace Etiquette

  1. What is workplace etiquette?

Workplace etiquette refers to the set of manners and behaviors expected in a professional environment.

  1. What are some workplace etiquette examples?

Workplace etiquette examples include greeting colleagues, keeping shared spaces clean, and practicing respectful communication.

  1. Why is workplace etiquette important?

Workplace etiquette fosters respect, enhances productivity, and promotes a professional workplace culture.

  1. What are some tips for virtual meeting etiquette?

For virtual meetings, face the camera to simulate eye contact, avoid personal items in the background, choose a quiet location, and ensure good lighting and internet connection.

  1. How can I improve my workplace communication skills?

To improve workplace communication skills, practice active listening, use a professional tone, maintain appropriate eye contact, and be clear and concise in your messages.

  1. How should an individual dress for a professional workplace?

An individual should adhere to the workplace dress code, choose appropriate attire for specific occasions, maintain a tidy and hygienic appearance, and avoid strong fragrances.

  1. What are some basic table manners for business meals?

Basic table manners include using a napkin on your lap, choosing menu items within a similar price range as your colleagues, waiting for everyone to be served before eating, and chewing with your mouth closed.

  1. What are the key elements of email etiquette?

Key elements of email etiquette include replying promptly, avoiding unnecessary emojis and exclamation marks, using a professional tone, and proofreading for grammatical errors.

  1. How can an individual demonstrate professionalism at work?

An individual can demonstrate professionalism by being punctual, respecting colleagues, dressing appropriately, communicating effectively, and maintaining a positive attitude.

  1. How does an individual handle conflicts with colleagues professionally?

An individual can handle conflicts by staying calm, seeking to understand the other person’s perspective, addressing issues directly and respectfully, and finding a mutually agreeable solution.


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