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Top five rules for office etiquette

Ross Bentley

More than 35% of office workers have considered leaving their job because of their colleagues' irritating habits, according to research by recruitment consultancy Office Angels.

The survey of 1,500 office workers identified the dos and don'ts of office etiquette and revealed the top five most irritating office habits:

  • Being e-mailed by people who sit three feet away (85%)
  • People who listen to voicemails on speakerphone (75%)
  • People who swear at their computer (71%)
  • Colleagues' choice of radio station (68%)
  • Colleagues who do not share the tea-making duties (60%).

Technology has created its own irritations, with 85% of staff frustrated by overuse of e-mail compared to just 20% in 1999.

Flouting the rules of office etiquette can have serious consequences: 65% of office workers admit they are more likely to gossip about colleagues who make loud personal phone calls, while 40% of office workers would not cover for a colleague who had never made the tea.

Conversely, those who practice sound office etiquette reap the rewards. Considerate colleagues are better workers and more deserving of promotion than their more boisterous counterparts, according to 65% of those polled.

The importance of workplace relationships is shown in the 26% who say they would be prepared to earn £1,000 a year less if they could work in a harmonious environment, while 53% would rather have nice colleagues than an extra week's holiday.

Top tips for good office etiquette 

  • Be aware of noise levels when colleagues are trying to concentrate
  • Offer support to colleagues with heavy workloads
  • Praise colleagues for a good job
  • Be open and honest - if something is irritating you, say so
  • Make the tea.

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