People working at busy modern office in front of computers

People working at busy modern office in front of computers

With the ever increasing open office spaces, poor office etiquette can be disruptive to a few individuals, or even to the entire office if not dealt with swiftly.  This is true especially with a seemingly endless influx of newer employee’s—if they don’t know any better, they may simply think this less than desirable behavior is the office norm.  Therefore, it is up to the tenured staff to demonstrate the desired level of professionalism in an office.  Here are a few examples of how to promote office tranquility, even when the boss is not in the room.

Know that of which you speak:

Prior to ever addressing any behaviors that you consider disruptive, or undesirable, be sure to back yourself up by checking the official company code of conduct guidelines or employee handbook.  Your polite guidance will carry a lot more weight if you can point out a specific office policy infractions that are occurring.  You will also avoid coming off as “that cranky guy who sits in the corner.”

A polite and private word:

It’s possible that the offending party doesn’t even know that their actions are contrary to office policies, or that their behavior is affecting anyone else.  A polite conversation in a casual tone is often enough to rectify the situation.  Pull the individual aside to avoid any embarrassment or appearance of scolding or reprimand, and further disrupting the office.

Show them the way:

It’s very hard to advise anyone else on office etiquette if you yourself are the worst offender.  Always make sure you lead by example with your behavior so it can never be used against you.  Make it a habit to be exemplary in your behavior around the office, and chances are that others will follow your lead.

The last resort:

Of course, if all attempts curtail disruptive office behaviors have failed, you can turn the situation over to your manager or even to the Human Resources department.  However, this should be the last resort, as this will surely result in hurt feelings or bad blood around the office.  Unfortunately, sometimes this last step is necessary if the situation is truly disruptive and affecting the overall productivity of the working environment.

It’s important to remember that in today’s diverse and eclectic mix of individuals filling working environments, it is doubtful that we will ever truly like everyone we work with—and we don’t have to.  This is the fundamental reason we all need to work together to promote that inner-office tranquility, to keep the productivity train rolling.  When it breaks down it must be fixed, no matter how intimidating it may be to do so.

Michael Klein is a premier writer and speaker on all aspects of human capital.  As VP Operations for KDS Staffing, Inc., he has achieved industry-leading success. Michael was awarded, The New York State Small Business Growth Award; presented by Governor George Pataki.  Additionally, Michael has successfully grown and sold multiple firms. If you or your organization would like to discuss hiring needs, contact Michael at 646-350-3015 or

Colleagues brainstorming in office while pointing out new ideas on laptop

Colleagues brainstorming in office while pointing out new ideas on laptop