9. April 2024

Why is everyone talking about… workplace etiquette?

Personio Pulse: This Week in HR - 3

Welcome to Personio Pulse: This Week in HR, where each week we take a look at the latest trends in the world of work, what you need to know about them and what they mean for you as an HR professional. 

This week we’re covering rising concerns about workplace etiquette, what’s driving them and what that might mean for your employees, your HR team and your organisation.

What you need to know

Want your employees to come into the office more often? Indeed’s latest research of 1000 employees and 500 employers in the UK found that one in five employees are choosing to work from home more often because of annoying behaviour from their colleagues.

The worst offenders were employees who gossip, flirt, swear and overshare with one in five complaining that their colleagues talk too much about their personal lives and the lives of others. Meanwhile, a quarter of senior managers admitted they work from home more often to avoid annoying colleagues. 

Fortune reports that 60% of US companies will be hiring etiquette training firms this year to educate their employees on how to dress appropriately, interact with clients and respect shared spaces. This may also need to include communication skills, as Channel 4’s CEO Alex Mahon has claimed that younger workers don’t have the skills to debate, disagree or work alongside people with different opinions.

What others are saying about it 

Unfortunately, some of these issues are inevitable, says Danny Stacy, UK Head of Talent Intelligence at Indeed. “There are always going to be colleague habits that frustrate us and some behaviours that are simply unacceptable in the workplace. But what’s important for employers is to create moments of connection for employees, no matter where they’re based, to maintain relationships and ensure environments where everyone can do their best work.”

Dan Sloan, Senior Director at Cox Automotive agrees: “Workplace etiquette is becoming increasingly important as employees return to in-person work. One behaviour I’ve noticed is the use of laptops during in-person meetings. Setting the norm of 'laptops down' (when appropriate) can make a big difference in keeping everyone engaged.”

What that means for you

As HR professionals, you can play a key role in codifying the behaviours that should be encouraged and discouraged in your organisation with clear, easy-to-follow (and easily accessed) policies. Setting the expectations around this should begin at onboarding and continue to be echoed with regular reminders of tips for how to minimise friction in the office. Let’s look at some key areas you may want to consider focusing on:

  1. Minimise workplace distraction: Can you create quiet or ‘do not disturb’ areas for those who don’t want to be distracted by colleagues? Signage and communication of the expectations in these areas can be effective for setting boundaries.

  2. Speak to senior managers: If this is something we know is forcing senior leaders to avoid the office, it may be worth running a small survey with your senior leaders to understand what they need to successfully stay productive when in-office.

  3. Set clear meeting etiquette: As issues around smoking, muting/unmuting and distraction crop up, it may be worth refreshing your employees on how they should ideally behave during meetings, whether in-office or remote.

What else should I read? 

That's all for this week's edition of Personio Pulse: This Week in HR. Check back next week as we continue to dissect the latest trends impacting the ways we work. 

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Hannah Popham

Hannah Popham

Hannah is a Senior Content Marketing Manager at Personio. She loves writing about the ever-changing ways that we work and how they intersect with our lives outside work.

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