Picture this: marketing executives Arvind Vyas and Supriya Verma are on a client visit. On nearing the glass doors to the office, Arvind pushes his way through first, without taking into consideration that his female colleague is just two steps behind. He lets go of the door, which promptly closes in Supriya's face!
Understandably, Supriya is quite piqued -- Arvind clearly displays a lack of manners. It is customary for a gentleman to not only open any door for a lady, but to politely usher her through before making his own way in. In fact, whoever reaches a door first, irrespective of gender, needs to hold the door open for the person behind. It is such a simple task and yet so many of us fail to do it.
The globalisation of businesses in India has vastly improved manners at work, but there is still much to be desired. In far too many companies, basic courtesies are still overlooked. Every work place has its own complex dynamics but the basic social rules which make people comfortable with each other remain valid in every working situation. An organisation where people are treated well and treat each other well tends to be more successful than others.
Here are certain guidelines to follow in a working environment.
How to welcome newcomers
- Newcomers should be welcomed by their seniors and colleagues.
- They should be briefed about their jobs and company practices.
- Staff at any level should be introduced to any newcomers they encounter.
- Courtesies should be extended to everyone you meet, irrespective of whether it's the receptionist or the CEO.
- Avoid asking personal questions regarding the newcomer's educational qualifications/ parentage/ marital status/ age/ income etc.
- Our names are an important symbol of our identity. Do not mispronounce, misspell or mix-up anybody's name.'
- Using someone's first name usually implies that you are superior to him, decidedly equal or friends. Therefore, it is best to start off formally. Use their surnames, preceded by Mr, Mrs or Ms. He/ she can then easily suggest that you use a first name.
How to show courtesy towards colleagues
- Greet everyone you encounter cheerfully and with a smile on your way into the office. On your way out, remember to thank the receptionist / office boys etc.
- Good bosses, employees and colleagues don't forget their manners. Remember 'please' and 'thank you'.
- Always show your appreciation with a smile.
- Small talk and light chitter chatter at work is essential; it expresses friendliness without demanding attention. Whether you talk about the traffic or the weather, the vital message is that you are all part of the same team.
- Be polite to hired help like peons, drivers, delivery boys etc.
- Do not talk loudly when you talk over the phone or to your colleagues. Talk in a soft and clear voice.
- Take instructions with grace and give instructions gracefully.
- On occasions like birthdays, staff members should receive a personal gift, good wishes and words of appreciation from the boss and colleagues.
- Always be considerate. The last person to leave the office should not have to switch off all the lights, air conditioners and computers. For example, when a photocopier runs out, whoever used the last sheet of paper should refill it.
- When you are going to get yourself a cup of tea, coffee or a cold beverage, offer to bring one for your co-workers as well.
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