Manner Monday: Business Etiquette Q&A

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Every Monday Blogging4Jobs invites our resident Etiquette Expert, CareySue Vega (@Etiquette101), to share tips when it comes to etiquette in the workplace during our own Manner Monday segment. This segment is for the practitioner who is focused on creating a more etiquette-friendly environment. 

Business Etiquette Q&A

Q – “We are an office of ten people with two complete slobs. How do we get them to help us keep our break room clean? They even leave spills in the microwave!” – Pat

A – We’ve all seen the cute little notes posted in offices or break rooms reminding co-workers to ‘clean up after themselves’. As passive aggressive as those notes may seem, I think we all can be reminded from time to time to treat our co-workers with the same respect we wish to be treated – and that includes a clean break room.

It sounds like this would be a good topic to bring up during a staff meeting. Ask for suggestions from the team for a strategy or plan to keep the space clean. The team could collectively create ‘norms and expectation’ for the break room. And by having group buy in and participation, it will hopefully help to get everyone on board and create a reasonable solution.

Q – “When my co-worker has an especially difficult conversation with a customer on the phone, he keeps it together until he gets off the phone. Then he curses a blue-streak. I feel like I get the brunt of his frustration, what should I do?” – Terry

A – Wow. This doesn’t sound like it makes for a good atmosphere in for the office. And from the description of behavior posed in the question, it sounds like he may not respond well to your ‘constructive criticism’. I would reach out to your supervisor and ask him or her to address the situation, immediately. And if you are his supervisor, stop what you’re doing and tackle this now, before it happens again. He needs to understand that his response is unacceptable in the office. If he needs to release that type of frustration, he needs to do so privately. By cursing in the office, he’s putting his coworkers in an extremely awkward situation – especially if they’re on the phone with a client.

You definitely don’t want another customer to hear him during a rant. We all get upset sometimes and need to blow off steam, but this is extreme, he may even need to look into some anger management course or counseling. And if you’re dragging your feet on dealing with the situation because you don’t know what to do, I would suggest reaching out to a local nonprofit who may be able to give you tools and guidance. I don’t want to assume anything, but if he’s doing this at work, he may also be doing it with his family.

Have any burning questions? Leave a comment and we’ll pick some to be answered!

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