Fridge faux pas tops list of breaches in office etiquette

ON THE JOB

May 07, 2008|By HANAH CHO

Is your turkey sandwich or fruit snack missing from the office fridge?

The so-called fridge raid is a reality, so much so that it was ranked as the No. 1 worst office etiquette faux pas, according to a recent survey by TheLadders.com, a job site for executives.

Nearly 98 percent of respondents said eating someone else's food from the office fridge was unacceptable, while 96 percent said bad hygiene was a no-no. The survey, with a margin of error of 1.9 percentage points, polled 2,520 executives.

"It's hard to say if it's the function of casual workplaces or the hours we spend in those workplaces," says John Roderick, a spokesman for TheLadders.com. "People are willing to talk about a lot of things and have friendly, cordial relationships with one another, but there are invisible morals in the workplace you shouldn't violate."

Respondents also mentioned bad habits, drinking on the job, wastefulness with paper, swearing in the office, cooking smelly food in the office microwave and using Blackberry devices at meetings as violations of office etiquette among their co-workers.

Bad manners in the office not only might offend colleagues but also could get you in trouble or even fired, the survey found.

More than 80 percent of respondents said they have given official warnings to employees for wearing revealing clothes or making too many personal calls.

Some 6 percent of executives said they have fired an employee for bad manners. The top five reasons for termination include bad language, excessive workplace gossip, drinking on the job, leaving the office without telling anyone and making too many personal calls.

Roderick says employees need to be mindful of the unwritten rules of the workplace as dictated by the company's culture.

"The softer side of interpersonal relationships in the workplace is something that everyone is paying attention to and everyone reacts to," he says.

What office etiquette violations do you see most often in your office?

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On the Job is published Monday at www.baltimoresun.com.

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