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Official Etiquette
March 04, 2013 COMMENT comment
     
Official Etiquette
By Kavita Ashok
 
It's a competitive world out there and first impressions can make or break a deal. In such a scenario it pays to brush up on your workplace etiquette and manners. In case of harassment at the workplace, you must file a complaint. Act fast or the issue may blow out of proportion.
 
The 21st century is an era of opportunity and exploration with women making their strong presence felt in territories that were male-dominated until recently. While financial independence and freedom give a woman the feeling of self worth, with it come many disguised threats and challenges. How do you as a woman make your mark at your workplace while remaining in the so-called 'safe zone'? What is it that will keep you out of trouble and unwanted attention and maintain your dignity at your workplace? It is not a bad idea to create a list of 'Do's and Don'ts' and stick by it for your benefit. The rulebook is simple but significant, strict but super effective.
Mind your Language
This is an old-school tool to keep you out of trouble. Be your polished self. Do not use slang with clients and colleagues. Never use abusive language at your workplace. It's disgraceful and may get offensive and land you in trouble. Be polite and address seniors and juniors with respect. Good manners and courtesy will add to your goodwill at the office and will be an added feather to your cap.
 
Attitude and Dress Code
Your attitude and your body language speak volumes about you. At the office, it is better to be simple than flashy to avoid drawing unnecessary attention from colleagues. Opt for a sober sari or salwar kameez if you prefer Indian or go for a well fitted suit or shirt and trousers. Necklines should not be deep or revealing.
 
Timing
Be punctual. Make it a point to be on time even if that means that you have to give up that 10 minutes of extra morning sleep. Concentrate on your work throughout the day and make sure you also leave on time. In case you are asked to stay back in office late in the evening, ask for a drop back home. Do not be shy to demand your safety.
 
Gossip and Rumour
Difficult as it may seem, it is advisable to stay away from both! It's fun to engage in gossip about a colleague but it only has brought harm and no good ever. Rumours about you looking for a new job, resigning, asking for a raise, tiff with the boss, et cetera, need to be addressed immediately. Office politics is a dangerous game; do not underestimate the power of minced words.
 
Email and Telephone Etiquette
The office telephone is not for making personal calls. If need be, keep it real short. Do not engage the phone in random talk about sales and movies. You are not being paid for that. Email is not private. Your boss owns your email, so be careful about what you write. Keep it short and sweet and do not sit and write personal mails from the office.
 
Sexual Harassment
Not always in obvious form, this may come in the form of gender-related remarks in its simplest form. If the comments are unwanted and make you uncomfortable, you should immediately warn the person. If that does not help, take it up with the Human Resource Department of your office with details of the time, place and person who is harassing you. Remember, 'a stitch in time saves nine'. Act fast or the issue may blow out of proportion. If the HR department does not pay heed to your requests you can even file a complaint with The Equal Employment Opportunities Commission of your area.
 
Office Romances
History about office romances is very strong but we all know that more often than not it has only led to mudslinging and trouble the world over. One in a million romances at the office ever materialise into something concrete, others only create havoc. You either act stupid in the office, create opportunity for wagging tongues or have a heartbreak and resign, thereby losing a great job for nothing.
 
The name of the game is clarity. The king of the jungle marks his territory and then rules. Know your territory, stay in your boundaries and breathe easy. A little attention and few preventive measures will make life at work simpler and less complicated.
 
BREAKING VIEWS
No matter how cool you find your workplace or how well you bond with everyone, always remember that your personal life and issues are your own. There is no need to weave an interesting tale out of it and share every anecdote at the coffee counter of your workplace. There is definitely no need of crying over your life problems at work. You never know when it might backfire.
 
When you share too much personal information you are indeed drawing too many people into your life when all you need to do is minimise personal news.
 
With personal matters also keep your personal opinion at home. It is okay to have strong views, but you don't have to push those views on your coworkers or pick fights with them when they do or say something you don't approve of.

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