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How to Practice Office Etiquette

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Office etiquette is more important than ever as many employees share offices or work together in tightly-packed cubicles. Good manners in the workplace help prevent disputes, build up office morale and encourage cooperation and teamwork. Proper etiquette also reflects well on you as a professional and can help propel you to success in your career.

Cubicle Life

Treat a co-worker's cubicle as if it had a door. Don't enter unless you've knocked and ask permission to come in. If someone is on the phone when you approach the cubicle, don't interrupt. Wait at a respectful distance, or come back later. Borrow office supplies only after asking permission. If you take the last of an item, be considerate and get a replacement..

Learn whether your company has a policy about decorating your cubicle. Even if they don't, keep your decorations tasteful and to a minimum. Keep your cubicle neat and organized to present a professional image.

Keep your voice low and don't use the speakerphone. Loud talk will distract others. Keep personal phone calls to a minimum.

Working Out of the Office

Be considerate of those in the office if you sometimes work from home or on the road. Make sure that your absence doesn't mean your co-workers end up fielding your phone calls and doing work you should have done on site.

Inform your co-workers of your whereabouts so they can reach you whenever necessary.

Practice good office etiquette if you use a common area or share a desk with another co-worker with flexible hours. Leave the area neat and orderly.

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Eating at Work

Eat quietly. Abstain from loud chewing or slurping the your drink through a straw.

Don't bring foods with strong odors -- such as fish.

Eat away from your workstation -- for example in a break room or cafeteria. This is more considerate of your co-workers.

Meeting Etiquette

Prepare for the meeting well in advance if you are heading it up. For example, make sure the room has the materials you'll need, plan what topics to cover, and get to the point. Begin and end the meeting on time.

Be punctual in arriving to a meeting. Turn off your cell phone during meetings or turn it to vibrate. Leave the room if you must take a call.

Return the meeting space to the condition in which you found it before leaving, especially if you called the meeting. Clean off dry erase boards, throw away any trash, and push the chairs to the table.

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