Feng Shui is traditionally used to improve offices and living spaces by balancing the good qualities of the yin
(passive, receptive, still) with the yang
(active, penetrative, moving) elements. It’s about ensuring that all office employees are in perfect balance and harmony for maximum productivity.
Our office etiquette rules and tips provide an excellent overview of the behaviors you should avoid at any workplace. Remember, the office is a place to work, and all fun activities should be done after work.
Let’s face it; your job should be easy-going and interesting to wake up to in the morning, filled with excitement to go to the office. However, this is not always the case as there are periods where everything is crumbling down on you, from facing severe pressure to intense competition from colleagues. Please keep in mind that Feng Shui is all about balance, where we all have bad and good days.
Let’s take a look at the top office etiquette 101 you should NEVER do inside an office. If it might not be you, please feel to pass it on to colleagues who may still have a knowledge gap and need improvement:
What are the basic principles of office etiquette
1. Leave your workplace messy behind
Inside an office, many people have to share at least 8 hours of their lives every day. You can compare it living with many roommates together, which is quite a challenge. Therefore, clean up after yourself inside a shared kitchen and keep your workplace clean and neat. It is the last thing that your boss or colleagues like to see.
Workplace Etiquette Rule: Clean up behind you
2. Misspell any names
It could happen that under pressure, you might misspell the customer name or the name from your boss. If these little mistakes are happening over and over, it shows no effort to details from your side are given. Take some time and pay close attention, that you spell all the names on messages correctly.
Workplace Etiquette Rule: Always take time to spell names correctly
3. Having a strong body odor
Make sure to have a daily hygiene routine to avoid a strong sweat smell during work in the office. Notably, during hot summer days, additional steps such as using deodorants are a MUST! If you have an unpleasant smell, your colleagues will make a big circle around you, as nobody likes to work right next to somebody who has a strong body odor.
Rule: Please take all the necessary steps to avoid any bad body odor
4. Violate the kitchen rules permanently
Many offices have very clear standards for the shared kitchen. It doesn’t matter if it is the coffee machine, microwave, or dishwasher all need to be clean after using it. A lot of gossip and office wars start right here in the kitchen.
Workplace Etiquette Rule: Follow the kitchen rules, always!
5. Coming sick to work
I am not talking about a small cold, but if you have severe flu it is better to stay at home. But, you might say: “Hey, I show commitment to come to work even if I am sick.” The fact is that you will bring all the bacteria and viruses inside the office and nicely spread them around by sneezing. At some point half the company is sick, and believe me, your boss will be far from happy about this.
Workplace Etiquette Rule: Stay at home if sick and rest
6. Entering without knocking
Please remember that an open door of your manager or boss is NOT an invitation to storm inside the office. Another one of essential office etiquette rules is to knock always before entering. Entering the room without knocking is quite rude, causing some scary looks towards you.
Workplace Etiquette Rule: Always know the door before entering
7. Consistent „small-talk“
Regardless, if it is under colleagues or on the phone, it is very annoying as everybody else is working hard. Your colleagues do not like to listen to your gossip stories at work. Also, if your small talk gets into hot topics such as politics, it can land you very quickly into deep trouble.
Workplace Etiquette Rule: Avoid content small-talk at all costs!
8. Interruption somebody speaking
Especially during a meeting, if you disagree with something, let the other person finish talking. Do not interrupt and be respectful and ask any questions at the end. In case you cannot remember, write it down.
Workplace Etiquette Rule: Never interrupt a person talking
9. Being unfriendly
Good morning and see you tomorrow should be in your standard manners. It seems that some people do not care about this basis manner at all. Besides, if you always have this “unfriendly” attitude during work, everybody else in the office will at some point respond in the same way — pure poison for an office atmosphere.
Also, whining, complaining, and being pity towards colleagues is hard to take, as nobody wants to be around such a grumpy cat. If the boss finds out about this, a lay off is very likely.
Workplace Etiquette Rule: Always be friendly and polite
You should also read: How to remove negativity thoughts about yourself
10. Being Loud
Some people still do not understand that their own voice volume should be on a normal level. There is no need to have a conversation like a volume of a jackhammer. This way of talking is highly disturbing and disrupting the work of everybody inside the workplace.
Workplace Etiquette Rule: Quite please, you are not alone!
11. Bothering colleagues with personal problems
We all have our own problems at home, either with the kids or with something else. But, talking about your private issues day in and day out annoys everybody in the office. Also, it causes a lot of distraction as nobody can concentrate on doing their work.
It is ok to have a chat and ask for an opinion, but do not test the patience of your colleagues when the conversation is one-sided: you talk, talk, talk! Be polite and ask beforehand if you could discuss a private topic with somebody.
Workplace Etiquette Rule: Do not bother colleagues long-term with personal problems
Do not forget to read: 16 Habits Happy People do daily
12. Never bring any bad smelling meals to the office (breakroom etiquette)
May it be cheese, garlic, or some other exotic spices that are incredibly smelly, the office is not the place to enjoy these. If you are a lover of such food, enjoy it at home and please follow the breakroom etiquette. Also, an absolute no-go is to store these kinds of food inside a shared fridge. It will contaminate everything else inside the refrigerator. In that case, the colleagues will thank you, but not in a good way.
Workplace Etiquette Rule: No smelly food – Period!
13. Playing annoying music
Spare your colleagues your individual music taste and discuss beforehand what kind of background music is acceptable for the office — playing a particular local radio station, which is famous works the best for everybody. In case you want to hear your own music, use a headset.
Workplace Etiquette Rule: Discuss what kind of music is acceptable for everybody
14. Bullying and Gossiping
Of all the office etiquette rules, this one is to be followed strictly: Do not gossip or bully inside the office. This should be a no-brainer, but it is an absolute taboo in the office.
Workplace Etiquette Rule: No bullying and gossiping in the office!
15. Drinking the last coffee (kitchen etiquette at work)
If it is the case that you just pored in the last drop of coffee from the kitchen, please make fresh coffee for the colleagues. It does not matter if you have a lot of stress; it is a manner and shows respect and yes this is one of the most annoying kitchen etiquette at work. Also, add new coffee to the shopping list in case the sachet is empty.
Workplace Etiquette Rule: Always make new coffee, the colleagues appreciate it.
16. Personal internet browsing
Be it online shopping or reading the latest news, checking your social media feeds all these should be done during your spare time or lunch break. Your boss pays you for working and not playing. In many countries, even one private email is cause for termination from the company.
Workplace Etiquette Rule: No private browsing during work
17. Causing a paper jam in the printer
The printer acts up again and spits out the paper that looks like freshly shredded. This scenario happens way too often, and please do not leave the paper jam for the next colleague to deal with. It doesn’t matter if it is just before the end of work or before lunch break, take care of it.
Workplace Etiquette Rule: Unjam the printer or call tech support to help
18. Not adding new toilet paper (bathroom etiquette at work)
Ugh, this is bad: One of the worst bathroom etiquette at work is not to replace empty toilet paper. Every woman who goes to the toilet needs having it, once the toilet business is over. The worst is to be stuck inside the cubicle without paper. Now, you have to yell through the closed toilet door for more supply.
Workplace Etiquette Rule: Always refill new toilet paper once it is empty
Playing pranks might be funny for you, but each person has a different kind of humor. It might be the most hilarious prank ever, but if the other person has a different view, the office climate gets ice cold.
Workplace Etiquette Rule: No office pranks!
20. Fighting for the room temperature
Who doesn’t know about it? The room temperature debate! Some colleagues would feel at home in the antarctic, but women tend to enjoy the warms of the Caribbean. A permanent argument in most offices around the world: Open the window, close it, A/C at 65 or 75 degrees. Under those circumstances, to overcome this issue, good communication is the key. Talk about it and maybe rearrange desks, if necessary. Everyone in the office should feel comfortable.
Workplace Etiquette Rule: Talk and find a common solution
21. Don’t talk back to your boss
The boss is the boss, even if you disagree with certain things, keep in mind to be quiet, and do not start to argue with him.
Workplace Etiquette Rule: No taking back to the boss
Final Word of having the perfect Feng Shui Yin-Yang balance
When it comes to working in an office, it’s not always easy to avoid annoying the person sitting next to you. We’re all humans with our own unique quirks and habits. Following the rules of Feng Shui allows you to be well balanced and make new friends along the way. You’ll be surprised at how much better your day will go when you follow these simple guidelines. You’ll also find that your colleagues will be kinder and more cooperative too. Win-win!.
If the energy balance inside the office still seems to be off, it might be good to take a close look at the layout and rearrange the workspace for a more auspicious energy flow. Sometimes it is unavoidable to have a Feng Shui expert look into the office layout to make sure everything is in order. The best way to do this is to book our online consultation to identify the main issues and then make recommendations on how to fix them.