How to Deal with Office Etiquette Offenders

You can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your co-workers. At times you may find yourself sharing an office with an individual who knowingly or unknowingly uses poor office etiquette. Do you suffer in silence and pray that he gets transferred? Or do you try to beat him at his own game?

Fortunately, there is a middle ground here. Try these suggestions the next time you deal with that person who’s always late or has loud phone conversations.

  • Don’t fight fire with fire. When you stoop to bad behavior yourself, it has no effect on the offending party and you come off looking juvenile and petty. It may also send out the message that these actions are acceptable in your office.
  • Give this person the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps he’s distracted by some problems and simply had a lapse of judgment. A kind word or gentle reminder may be enough to snap him out of it.
  • If it’s clear that the individual behaves this way regularly, have a calm discussion in a private location. Don’t have it out in front of others. That in itself is a violation of office etiquette. Even irritating people deserve respect.
  • Once you’ve exhausted all options and there’s no improvement, talk to your supervisor or human resources manager to determine the next step.

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