Your morning commute isn't the only challenge to working in an office. Having to deal with disputes between office mates or attend meetings with peers who either can't or won't behave in a professional manner can be a drag on the whole team's productivity. But by implementing some simple workplace guidelines, you can help eliminate office annoyances and have employees go from rude to respectful in no time.
Squash Office Gossip
Employees who gossip create turmoil and are destructive to a business and shouldn't be tolerated. This deviant workplace behavior not only slows productivity, but it negatively affects morale among employees, says Beth Weissenberger, CEO and co-founder of New York-based The Handel Group. When resentment builds among co-workers and departments, healthy communication stops. According to Weissenberger, implementing a zero-tolerance gossip policy allows companies to deal with issues head on and, therefore, allows for team work, better conversations and trust.
Slam the Breaks on Stealing
Office theft isn't just defined just as taking office supplies without asking -- it can also mean taking credit for another person's idea and claiming it as your own. Other illegal or immoral behaviors includes misusing expense accounts, plagiarizing, and lying about billable hours. This kind of destructive behavior erodes trust among co-workers and can cause significant damage to the business. If someone on your staff is stealing a co-worker's ideas or property, you can assume that this employee shouldn't be trusted with confidential information at the very least.
When a team member is consistently late for meetings it shows a lack of respect for those waiting. It indicates to you -- and everyone around -- that this employee either doesn't care about his or her job or doesn't respect coworkers' time -- or both. The best way to get employees to show up on time is to stop the behavior before it becomes chronic. After you've tracked the tardiness in writing, meet one-on-one and give the employee a warning with a clearly spelled-out consequence. If it happens again, follow through and make sure others in the group are aware that consequences for chronic tardiness or absenteeism will be enforced.
Whether your employee is dealing with you or with any other member of your team, every employee should have respect for and be polite to co-workers, clients and supervisors. An employee who consistently (and loudly) uses the phone to handle personal matters is likely to derail coworkers in earshot from the tasks at hand. A supervisor who uses harsh language, insults or threats to motivate employees is another example of inappropriate office behavior. According to Brad Karsh, president of Chicago-based JB Training Solutions, a company that works with employers to enhance business skills, these attitudes can slow work flow, deteriorate morale and quickly lead to excessive and unnecessary employee turnover.
Based in Los Angeles, Lisa Finn has been writing professionally for 20 years. Her print and online articles appear in magazines and websites such as "Spa Magazine," "L.A. Parent," "Business," the Famous Footwear blog and many others. She also ghostwrites for mompreneurs and business owners who appear regularly on shows such as Ricki Lake, HGTV, Carson Daly and The Today Show.