Learning Office and Workspace Etiquette

Making Positive Impressions

  • One's handshake is one of the first impressions that people make, therefore it should be firm, confident, and held for three to four seconds.
  • If seated when introduced to someone, rise to greet them and make eye contact while shaking their hand.
  • When conversing with people, one's manner should be polite and convey interest. Face the speaker, meet his or her gaze and offer an honest smile if appropriate.
  • Be punctual, and if possible people should arrive at work before their employer. Punctuality should also include returning from breaks and lunches on time.
  • Avoid wearing clothing that does not portray a professional image. In addition, shoes and accessories such a jewelry, handbags, etc. should be tasteful and well-kept.
  • Select attire that not only adheres to the company's dress code, but that is also suitable for the job that one would like next.
  • Remain neat and organized in all things at all times.
  • Business Etiquette
  • Etiquette Tips: Dressing and Dining
  • Professional Etiquette
  • Dining and Business Etiquette Tips, Includes Greetings
  • Business Etiquette Guide (PDF)


  • Treat everyone in an office with respect, regardless of their position.
  • Politics, religion, and personal relationships and activities are just a few of the personal topics that can make work awkward or uncomfortable and shouldn't be discussed at work.
  • When meeting someone for the first time, repeat their name upon greeting them. This will help in remembering the individual's name.
  • Create notes on clients using contact management software or even index cards. Notes should include the name of each client or business contact, contact information, and personal information such as his or her birthday, number of children, and spouse's name.
  • Avoid listening to or sharing office gossip.
  • Etiquette Guide (PDF)
  • Business Etiquette: Five Rules That Matter Now
  • Business Etiquette Guide (PDF)
  • Appropriate Business Etiquette
  • Workplace Etiquette and CV Skills



  • Extend punctuality to include meetings. A person should never arrive early (unless instructed to do so) or late to a meeting.
  • Understand the concept of punctuality when it comes to attending a meeting. So that a meeting can start on time, people should arrive no later or earlier than five minutes before the designated time.
  • A person should always be courteous and call if there is an unavoidable delay that will make him or her late to a meeting.
  • Plan to arrive ten minutes before the start of a business interview.
  • Wait for people to stop talking before contributing to a conversation.
  • Don't be overly aggressive or confrontational during a meeting.
  • Top Ten Etiquette Rules (PDF)
  • Proper Business Etiquette, Including Mastering Meetings (PDF)
  • Business Meeting Etiquette (PDF)
  • Business Meeting Etiquette and Ground Rules

Work Space

  • Voices carry in an office and can be disruptive to nearby co-workers. When talking to people use a soft tone and a voice that is clear and audible to the listener, but not so loud that it interferes with the work of others.
  • Keep personal calls to a minimum and avoid boisterous laughter.
  • Take into consideration that coworkers may be sensitive to certain scents and avoid wearing strong perfumes or eating at one's desk or cubicle.
  • People working near others should keep their desk clean and avoid overlapping onto a nearby co-worker's space.
  • Cubicle Etiquette (PDF)
  • Open Office Etiquette Guidelines (PDF)
  • Workplace Etiquette 101 (PDF)
  • Cubicle Etiquette: Sights, Sounds, and Smells
  • Ten Office Etiquette Rules

International Business Etiquette