office space etiquette

Office Etiquette: 4 Rules For A Productive Workplace

Who this micro-class is for

* Office workers, employees, and managers

What you’ll learn

* The best practices for a productive workplace 

* How to avoid the most common office bad manners


* Less than 6 minutes to complete

About this micro-class

A harmonious workspace is key to a productive environment. Practicing good etiquette ensures a positive and respectful atmosphere for all.

Understanding Office Etiquette

Consequences of Poor Etiquette

Office etiquette includes the best practices to keep the workplace productive for all team members. Poor office etiquette can affect the morale and productivity of a company. Examples:

  • Conflicts: Small issues can lead to conflicts that affect team morale and productivity.
  • Distractions: Inconsiderate behaviors can disrupt focus and impact everyone’s work.

Empathy and Respect

Practice empathy and consideration for your colleagues.

Fostering a positive workspace is a collective effort. Work together with your team to ensure a respectful, harmonious environment for everyone.

1. Respect Shared Spaces

Odor Control

Avoid strong scents that might be disruptive to others. 

Practice a personal hygiene routine.

Avoid strong-smelling food in the workplace. Opt for meals that are considerate of others. If possible, avoid eating food at your desk.

Noise Awareness

Keep conversations at a reasonable volume, especially in shared areas. If on the phone, use designated spaces for private calls.

Use headphones for music or calls. If you regularly wear headphones, make sure to be approachable by your coworkers.

Be mindful of disruptive noises. Avoid making distracting sounds, such as clicking pens or stamping your feet on the ground.



Use digital communication tools when possible to minimize verbal disruptions.

Respect others’ focus. Approach with queries when necessary.


Hallway Movement

Be mindful of others when walking in shared areas. Apply extra care when you carry items such as a laptop or business equipment.

Avoid abrupt movements and ample gestures. Running or creating obstacles can lead to accidents or disruptions.

Avoid bringing bulky personal items to the office, such as bikes or e-scooters.

2. Workspace Cleanliness

Meeting Rooms and Shared Spaces

Book rooms for meetings to avoid disturbances. 

Respect shared spaces’ cleanliness and guidelines.

Don’t alter the office layout or space allocation. Avoid moving furniture around. If you temporarily move a chair or any other item, place it back in its original place once you are done.

Desk Tidiness

Maintain a clean and organized workspace to promote efficiency and minimize distractions for yourself and others.

Clean after yourself. Throw away your trash, bring cups and glasses back to the kitchen, and wipe food or beverage spills.

Temperature and Lighting

Be mindful of shared light and temperature controls. Seek a balanced setting for temperature and lighting that accommodates most individuals.

3. Respect Personal Boundaries

Personal Space

Respect boundaries, personal space, and privacy.

Avoid intrusive behaviors like looking over screens or listening to your coworkers’ conversations.

Don’t put your belongings in someone else’s work area. Respect an appropriate minimum personal distance between you and your coworkers. 


Utilize designated areas for personal items, such as coats and bags. 

Keep walkways and shared spaces clear.

4. Conflict Prevention


If something bothers you, respectfully address it with the individual, or consult with HR or management for guidance.

Understanding Differences

Be considerate of cultural or personal differences in etiquette and adapt where necessary.

Resources and useful links