Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Forward email: How to stop bad manners from ruining your relationships at work

Taken individually these infractions seem minor:
You forget to put your cellphone on vibrate, and suddenly "Disco Inferno" is blaring through the conference room. You order a pastrami sandwich for lunch, unaware that a cubicle wall away your co-workers are gagging from the smell. You let your eyes swerve to your computer screen while a junior associate tells you about her relationship problems.
While these might seem like small slips, they can create deep resentments between co-workers.

How To Annoy Your Co-workers Without Really Trying

Good business etiquette doesn't mean formality. It's all about steering clear of bad manners. Taken individually, the following office infractions seem minor. Put them together and they're a recipe for ruining your relationships at work. First up is...

1. Putting PDAs Before People
Christine Pearson, co-author of The Cost of Bad Behavior, says that gadget-induced (that word might be offensive to some readers) absorption is the No. 1 complaint she hears from office workers around the globe. "Most people find texting and e-mailing in meetings really offensive. The irony is, most of these same people admit that they do it," she says.

2. Eating Smelly Food
Why should anyone mind if you have a little microwave popcorn in the afternoon? No reason--unless you're filling the office with the scent of burnt kernels every day at 3 p.m.

3. Holding A Meeting In The Hallway
Yes, it is lucky that you bumped into Beth because you had that question you've been meaning to ask her. But be aware that your colleagues are working--and, unlike you, aren't interested in Beth's take on last week's strategy session.

4. Write in Text Speak
Don't expect the client to LOL when you write CUL8R. Sarah Place, CEO of Place Trade Financial, once received a cover letter that was nearly 50% in text-shorthand. "While I am certainly hip to getting my message out in 140 characters or less, I immediately thought OMG, either this person is ill-mannered, clueless or has absolutely no desire to get an actual job," she says.

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