Respond to emails within 24 hours and NEVER slurp your drinks at your desk: Etiquette expert on how to behave in the office - and the biggest mistakes you're making
- Julie Lamberg-Burnet is the founder of the Sydney School of Protocol
- She has spoken to FEMAIL about the dos and don'ts of office etiquette
- She covers email sign offs, office relationships, manners and eating at the desk
- She also shares the importance of dressing appropriately and meeting etiquette
PUBLISHED: 10:00 AEST, 23 April 2018 | UPDATED: 00:52 AEST, 24 April 2018
In every corporate environment, there is a certain standard of behaviour that is considered appropriate across the board.
But there are a number of basic etiquette mistakes office workers are making that are impacting their personal brand, placing strain on their workplace relationships and jeopardising their careers.
Here, FEMAIL speaks to the founder of the Sydney School of Protocol, Julie Lamberg-Burnet about these mistakes and how to behave correctly in an office environment.
PRESENT YOURSELF TO A UNIQUE ADVANTAGE
'You can invest in the most elaborate and expensive office attire but no matter the cost, it is the way you hold yourself and the body language you exude that means the difference between a positive first impression and a poor one,' Ms Lamberg-Burnet said.
'Do you manage your image and presentation effectively to enhance your personal brand image?'
Ms Lamberg-Burnet said strongly suggests everyone refreshes their style regularly to prevent getting 'stuck in a time warp'.
'When was the last time you changed your hairstyle and color, skincare regime, exercise and diet plans, wardrobe fit and style, and importantly checked in with your dentist? These are the fundamental foundations for great style and a polished image,' Ms Lamberg-Burnet said.
'With your wardrobe, seek advice on what best suits your body shape. Believe it or not our bodies change depending on our lifestyle and as we mature,' she said
'With your wardrobe, seek advice on what best suits your body shape. Believe it or not our bodies change depending on our lifestyle and as we mature. How often do we see either poorly fitted garments or styles that simply do not flatter the wearer.
'Fashion forward is fine if you can carry it off otherwise stay with the styles and cut that suit you.'
Ms Lamberg-Burnet said men and women should not 'always rely on advice' when purchasing in a store.
'A second opinion is essential as well as knowing a good tailor to fine tune your purchases to a perfect fit,' she said.
'A second opinion is essential as well as knowing a good tailor to fine tune your purchases to a perfect the fit is the key to looking amazing,' she said
'Invest in the best you can afford, particularly for key pieces such as jackets, trousers, shoes, bags and accessories like watches, sunglasses and spectacles.
'You do not have to spend outrageously but a few quality signature pieces will set you apart.
'Introduce wardrobe pieces and colours to suit your lifestyle, be mindful of dress options for every occasion, remember it is preferable to dress stylishly on Casual Friday and always reflect a professional image that suits the business you work in.'
'You can be social but you still need to be professional. Deal with obstacles in a gracious and thoughtful way to retain your presence and composure,' Ms Lamberg-Burnet said
KEEP YOUR BEHAVIOUR POLISHED AND PROFESSIONAL
Ms Lamberg-Burnet said the key to building positive relationships and a credible personal brand is to be generally interested in other people.
'Building a foundation of mutual support and loyalty creates a pleasant and enjoyable work environment.
Can you ever take your shoes off in the office?
Keep your shoes on - not matter how comfortable they may be colleagues do not wish to view feet that are in desperate need of a pedicure.
'In the office environment demonstrating good manners, courtesy and consideration are important. Such as, saying 'hello' and 'goodbye' each day,' Ms Lamberg-Burnet said.
'The first impressions you exude when you walk into a work space, meeting room or open space, sets the mood around you. Smile, check in with your colleagues and focus the conversation on other people - it is not all about you.'
Ms Lamberg-Burnet said it is also important to help newcomers.
'Always introduce new people and make a point of introducing them to others to create a warm welcome and introduction to the business,' she said.
'In the office environment demonstrating good manners, courtesy and consideration are important.
Such as, saying 'hello' and 'goodbye' each day,' Ms Lamberg-Burnet said
DON'T BE KNOWN AS THE 'MUNCHER'
According to Ms Lamberg-Burnet, poor eating habits are one of the biggest issues in the workplace - and those who do it are often unaware of the impact it has on those around them.
'Think about those around you,' she said.
'No one enjoys lingering food smells in their work area so avoid heating or eating hot smelly food or last night's left overs.
'Do not be tempted to create a personal pantry around your work area, in common work spaces or in the office kitchen.
'Be aware of eating styles and do not become known as the noisy eater who pops gum, slurps drinks or crunches apples, chips and nuts.'
Other frustrating habits shared by workers include scraping bowls, slurping soup, eating with an open mouth, talking with a full mouth and constantly eating at a desk.
'Be aware of eating styles and do not become known as the noisy eater who pops gum, slurps drinks or crunches apples, chips and nuts,' Ms Lamberg-Burnet said
What are the most annoying habits in the office? Colleagues unleash:
Fed-up and weary officeworkers took to Reddit recently to share some of most irritating habits of their colleagues:
* One woman pushes herself all over the place in her chair. Yes, our chairs have wheels. No, that does not mean that you need to push yourself 20 feet in them just to put something in someone's box
* My current project lead tries to finish your sentences. Whatever it is you're talking about, to show he understands he always tries to say the last word of the sentence
* One guy touches my computer screen/mouse with his greasy fingers
* I work with a woman who sings "America the Beautiful" every morning before we open. Every. Morning. On a loop. I used to go in early, but now I show up exactly when required to avoid having to be around her
* I hate the person who has to make a snarky remark when you are a few minutes late. 'Nice of you to join us today' or 'Good afternoon'
* Constantly talking about their problems
* Eating disgusting fried foods that stink up the office. And chewing it really loud so I can't ever forget to smell it
* I work with a few mouth breathers, it drives me insane
REMEMBER ELEVATOR ETIQUETTE
'Elevator etiquette is a good example of where we can demonstrate our thoughtfulness and consideration for others,' Ms Lamberg-Burnet said.
'The person nearest the door of the elevator enters first. Before you get on the elevator, stand back from the door so those who wish to exit may do so with ease.
'Be considerate and hold the door open until others have entered. Be mindful of your voice level and use it as an opportunity to smile and interact.
'Incidental interactions often lead to valuable connections.'
'Elevator etiquette is a good example of where we can demonstrate our thoughtfulness and consideration for others,' Ms Lamberg-Burnet said
THINK ABOUT YOUR TONE
'Always answer the phone with confidence and a smile, as a smile can be heard,' Ms Lamberg-Burnet said.
'Avoid talking loudly including in either a public place, café, restaurant or in the lift – you never know who is listening or taking a picture.
'In open spaces remember to use a quiet voice. With personal calls keep it discreet as co-workers do not necessarily wish to hear the details of either last night's party or intimate private issues.'
BE CAUTIOUS OF VERBAL EXCHANGES AND LANGUAGE
'You can be social but you still need to be professional. Deal with obstacles in a gracious and thoughtful way to retain your presence and composure,' Ms Lamberg-Burnet said.
'In some businesses, obscenity and profanity are permitted.
'If foul language makes you uncomfortable, signal your distaste by never using these words yourself.
'Others who welcome your attitude and even imitate your behavior may pleasantly surprise you.'
'Always answer the phone with confidence and a smile, as a smile can be heard,' Ms Lamberg-Burnet said
Other tips for correct email etiquette
* Never use ALL CAPS as this indicates shouting
* Begin all emails to managers, clients or anyone in senior management with a formal greeting
* Never write 'Hi' or 'Hey there!' and sign off with 'warm regards' or 'best wishes' as they conclude your note with respect and warmth
* Email is not an excuse for misspellings, grammatical errors or punctuation mistakes. Spell checkers are far from perfect, double check
LEARN AND PRACTICE CORRECT EMAIL ETIQUETTE
'As we face the daily inbox of emails there is often a temptation to respond without thinking,' Ms Lamberg-Burnet said.
'Respond within 24 hours even if only to acknowledge receipt of the email and remember that office emails are not private and can be read by your employer.
'Make the subject line crystal clear as to what the email is about, write it as a letter, not as an SMS, don't use abbreviations or Emoji images and if you make a mistake and send an email to the wrong individual or group, ring up and apologise.'