Fake content
Skip to main content

12 tips to be courteous to your co-workers

If you've ever had a roommate or a sibling you've had to share a living space with, you may have learned the hard way not to push the boundaries of common courtesy too far. Similarly, there are many unspoken rules in the workplace as well — so pay attention and exercise civility to the people you have to spend most of your waking hours with.

Here are 12 tips to be courteous to your co-workers that you should, hopefully, already know.

1. Close the door if you're having a meeting or if you're on a conference call.

2. Give people a heads up if you're going to be late to work, for a meeting, etc.

3. If you eat snacks out of the communal "snack bar" at work or drink coffee out of a shared Keurig, replenish it every once in a while.

4. If you're listening to music and/or white noise and/or watching videos, make sure it's inaudible to those around you.

5. Avoid bringing in smelly or pungent foods to eat at your desk. That doesn't mean you can't bring in your leftovers — but if they're especially stinky, grab your lunch and head outside where the fresh air will take care of any lingering smells.

6. Don't leave your Tupperware in the sink and expect someone to clean up after you.

7. Check the inappropriate jokes at the door. If you have second thoughts about whether the "joke" you're about to tell will offend people, PLEASE just keep it to yourself.

8. It goes without saying to steer clear of discussions about politics or religion at a family gathering in the workplace, but use your common sense when it comes to other controversial topics as well.

9. If you're part of a team, don't slack off or do the bare minimum and expect your co-workers to do the heavy lifting.

10. For the love of everything holy, do not hit "Reply All" if it's unnecessary — for example, if a promotion is announced, forward your congratulations to the individual instead of starting a group chain that will make everyone hate you.

11. B/O is the worst, but wearing overly strong perfumes is a close second. Workplace settings are usually very confined spaces, so the same goes for applying nail polish or anything else where the fragrance would be overwhelming.

12. Step outside if you need to take a longer personal call – especially if it's TMI or NSFW.

Tweet at @CareerBuilder: What's your biggest pet peeve that drives you nuts in the workplace?

What kind of work can you do?

Search Jobs Support Center for more ideas.

Advice on dealing with your co-workers:

Research salaries for any job and location with CareerBuilder's Salary Tool