This is a guest post is by Katherine Everitt-Newton, a resilience coach. A chance encounter in the office triggered this post on Courteous Office Behaviour. Being liked and respected by your peers and colleagues goes a long way to helping you get to get noticed for partner track and make partner. Courteous behaviour is just one way to help you seem more approachable, likeable and professional.

Over to Katherine:

I was following a co-worker up to the exit recently (the kind with the push button to exit) and was stunned that he went through and let the door slam in my face.  I was in a grump for an hour at this less-than-courteous behaviour.  Don’t get me wrong,  I’m not a poor, defenseless female who needs a gentlemen to hold the door for me.  It was more the lack of basic courtesy that bothered me.

A small amount of courtesy and kindness can go a long way to making office life (or any other area of interaction) more enjoyable for all.  Where you find offices that routinely report high levels of stress, you’ll find that common courtesy has all but disappeared.

The added benefit of being courteous to your boss and colleagues is that when people like us they’re more likely to support our ideas and proposals.   Common courtesy has become so uncommon, that we can set ourselves apart from others in a very positive way, by simply being courteous.

Good manners are just a way of showing other people that we have respect for them.

~ Bill Kelly
  1. Hold the door for others.
  2. Offer to get a drink for those seated nearby when you get one for yourself.
  3. Always put your used dishes in the proper place.
  4. Smile.
  5. Express gratitude for work well done.
  6. Listen before offering your opinion.
  7. Always be courteous and expect the same from others.
  8. Keep your work area clean and tidy.
  9. Greet people properly (acknowledge them verbally or nonverbally).
  10. Introduce yourself to people you don’t know.
  11. Reply to every invitation you receive, yes or no is fine, not responding keeps people hanging. (You may need to de-clutter your inbox to help you with this)
  12. Make an effort to remember and use people’s names. (See our guide to memorising names)
  13. Don’t assume others have the time to answer your queries, always ask ‘May I interrupt you’?’ or ‘Is this a convenient time to ask a question?’.
  14. Dress appropriately for the work and environment.
  15. Moderate your language and keep crude & insensitive comments out of the workplace.
  16. Don’t IM colleagues for side chats or gossip during a meeting.
  17. Don’t leave the copy machine or coffee pot empty.
  18. Be punctual.
  19. Speak with a smile in your voice.
  20. Don’t be texting or checking emails during a a face-to-face conversation.

“Treat people as you would like to be treated. Karma’s only a bitch if you are.”

~ Anon

We have a great course in our subscriber-only site Progress to Partner  called How to put together a development plan to achieve your career goals.  The course gives you the structure, clarity, and guidance to gain the skills, knowledge, mindset, and experience to take your career to the next stage or level – whatever you want that to be. Check it out here

Other articles that may help:

Author Credit:
Katherine Everitt-Newton supports individuals and businesses achieve success by improving resilience and relieving stress.  If you’re ready to get control of your stress, get your free subscription to her monthly newsletter De-Stress at Your Desk Newsletter, at:

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