Manners do matter at work. However, they are slightly different from good manners praised in social situations. In social situations, good manners aim to help those around us feel comfortable. At work, good manners facilitate good working relationships and enhanced efficiency.
In your social world life, you want to be liked. The working world is all about the bottom line. Things move more quickly. Sure, you need to cooperate with people to reach goals. However, you also must maintain a certain level of power to get heard and effect necessary changes.
You do not interrupt in social settings. However, in a business meeting, you may need to interrupt to get your ideas on the table.
In a social gathering, it is uncouth to boast about grand achievements. Modesty is preferred. Business people will tell you that if you don't "toot your horn" nobody else will, and you may be overlooked. Don't take it to an extreme, but you've got to self-promote to survive.
Many times in a social setting, we politely apologize for things that are not our fault. We step aside quickly and take blame in order to comfort the other person. However, in business, saying, "I'm sorry" takes a different meaning. With it comes responsibility and liability for the problem. While you should always be honest, you should not go out of your way to grab the blame.
There are several fundamentals of etiquette that apply to business and social life. We'll list a few ways to break them below. If you do, you'll be remembered for the wrong reason -- on and off the job.
Poor Table Manners
Wiping your hands on your clothing, burping, elbows on tables, talking with your mouth full, being over indulgent with food or alcohol
Failure to greet someone, weak or no handshake, failure to introduce an associate
Not paying attention to a speaker, talking while the presenter is speaking, asking a question just covered by the speaker
Poor Dress and Grooming
Sloppy appearance, gym or party dress for business, revealing clothes
Poor Telephone Behavior
Not returning calls, eating while on the phone, slamming the phone down, long hold times, load talking or belligerent tone
Inconsiderate of Common Space
Leaving your mess out in a common space, leaving dirty coffee mugs in conference rooms, leaving stapler or copier empty after using the last of the staples or paper
Scratching, flossing teeth, yawning or coughing with mouth uncovered, playing with hair, putting on makeup, cleaning fingernails, playing with change in pockets, adjusting undergarments
Disregard of Others Time
Interrupting people at work, keeping people waiting, not showing up for a scheduled appointment
Not Paying Your Fair Share
At a restaurant with peers and not paying enough to cover your entire meal -- drink, meal and tax
Reading others faxes, email, computer screen, or mail
In summary, did you see any behavior that you've witnessed in the workplace? I am sure you did. We all are guilty of an accidental infraction. Make it a habit and you may find yourself being passed over for promotions or no longer included in client presentations or luncheons.