In elementary school you weren't permitted to bring cupcakes to school unless you brought enough for the entire class. Nothing has changed. The workplace demands a higher level of manners than you possessed when you were 6, so break out the Emily Post. Good etiquette is all about smoothing relationships, whether they are with your supervisor, colleagues, suppliers or clients.
You often spend more time at work than they do with your family. When a group of random people are thrown together for eight or more hours a day, it is easy for a variety of petty conflicts to take root. To avoid this, savvy workers practice good etiquette. This might mean walking over to the next cubicle instead of making like a prairie dog and peeking over the top -- only to catch your coworker hiking up her pantyhose. Good etiquette increases the comfort level of the environment for everyone.
Understanding One Another
Many companies have a global network of employees, clients and suppliers. Call your Chinese supplier's mobile phone number at 2 o'clock in the afternoon from the West Coast, and you'll likely wake him from a sound sleep. Good etiquette dictates that you consider time, culture and language when doing business with people who live in other countries. Be aware of important national holidays and cultural customs when working with people from different parts of the world, and you'll have a much better chance of making a good impression.
Consider what other people will smell, hear or see before you reheat that fish sandwich in the microwave, provide details about your stomach virus on the phone or leave a dirty dish in the break room sink. While your perfume may smell divine to one coworker, another may think it rivals eau de skunk. When people are forced into close proximity to one another, it is critical that consideration rule the day.
Meeting New People
Research published in the December 2012 "Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience" found that a simple handshake can create a more favorable impression in business interactions -- a fact that we've intuitively known for some time. Such displays of common etiquette provide the framework people need to feel comfortable interacting with new people or in an unfamiliar environment. If you can be on time, make good contact and remember people's names, you'll put others at ease.
Elise Wile has been a writer since 2003. Holding a master's degree in curriculum and Instruction, she has written training materials for three school districts. Her expertise includes mentoring, serving at-risk students and corporate training.