Office Oops – 30 Thoughtless Things that Sabotage Workplace Civility

I am often approached by both corporations and the people working within them on how to handle incivilities in the workplace.  This is a list I compiled on what many people experience.  In the next blog I list options on what to do to improve workplace civility.

Check to see if you are familiar with any of these!

  1. Leave an unwashed coffee cup in the office kitchen
  2. Leave lunch in the refrigerator and forget about it
  3. Make a mess of the microwave or other kitchen areas, and not clean up after
  4. Talk overly loud on the telephone, especially in a cubicle situation when there is no door to close
  5. Stop by your desk for a chat, and you have work to do
  6. Not smile and say “good morning”
  7. Over-do fragrance
  8. Have unpleasant body odour
  9. Have unpleasant breath odour
  10. Have a messy desk loaded with personal items
  11. Make / take too many personal calls
  12. Eat in a meeting
  13. Have an unkempt appearance
  14. Dress inappropriately (too-short skirts, too-low necklines)
  15. Gossip
  16. Swear
  17. Complain / criticize
  18. Promise something and not follow through
  19. Be nice to the boss, but no one else
  20. Treat others as ‘less than’
  21. Be rude, angry, threatening, or lack civility
  22. Pick their teeth with a fork
  23. Use a toothpick in public
  24. Eat peas with a knife
  25. Not use a fork and knife properly
  26. Be loud, obnoxious, uncouth
  27. Ask too-personal questions (“Have you had a face list?”  “Do you colour your hair?”)
  28. Talk too much (so you can’t get a word in edgewise)
  29. Give too much information about their personal lives (ie. sex life)
  30. Take too many or too-long breaks (for smoking, etc.)

In the next article I share some solutions to improve workplace civility; you can choose the best option to handle your situation!


Karen Brunger is President of International Image Institute Inc., and Past-President of the Association of Image Consultants International



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