Office of Alumni Relations
CIBC First Caribbean International Bank

Career Resources: Workplace Tips

For some individuals etiquette is a lost custom. However, it is very much ‘alive’ and should be seriously practised in all aspects of our lives. Etiquette is broadly seen as socially acceptable behaviour is various situations and settings. The workplace is a setting in which etiquette should be strictly observed.

Following are some professional skills that are necessary in the workplace:


Positive Interactions

  •  Instead of crowding the people you talk to, step back (about 18 inches) to allow for personal space.
  • If someone is very soft-spoken, you may have to lean in to catch their words, but back away when it’s your turn to speak.
  • Make solid eye contact. An open and interested expression, which begins with the eyes, is far more engaging.
  • Be conscious of height differences; stand sufficiently far away so that the person doesn’t get uncomfortable having to look up or down at you.

Respecting Rank

  • Maintain a respectful conversational distance; no back-slapping, nudging, hugging, elbowing or other touching that implies non-existent intimacy.
  • Just because you’re chatting with your superior about a football game, don’t assume that the casual nature of the conversation allows you to dispense with the common courtesies.
  • Do not prop your feet on the desk, drop down on the couch without an invitation or touch ornaments or professional toys on your bosses desk.

Requesting and Offering Help

  • The best way to get help is to give it. If you see an office mate working through lunch to collate a large client packet you should pitch in to assist.
  • Source: The Etiquette Advantage in Business by Peggy Post & Peter Post (2009)

General Office Practices

  • If you are visiting a colleague’s workstation, never attempt to read communication on the individual’s desk or computer screen.
  • If you use a colleague’s workstation, always leave it just as you found it. Never move things around to suit your preference.
  • If you are using the copier or fax machine and it runs out of paper with you, always replace it so that the next user is not inconvenienced.
  • If you are using a book to record information and you are the last person to use the page that is ruled, always turn the page and rule the page for the next user.
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