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As employees gradually return to their offices after a prolonged period of remote work due to the Covid-19 pandemic, employers are grappling with an unexpected issue: some workers have forgotten how to behave professionally in a physical office setting. This has led to an increase in demand for office etiquette training sessions and a surge in online content offering advice on proper workplace behavior. In this article, we will delve into the most common workplace faux pas and provide guidance for employees who need a refresher on office etiquette.

The Most Common Workplace Etiquette Mistakes

Employees returning to the office might find that they’ve developed some bad habits during their time working remotely. Some of the most common workplace etiquette faux pas include:

  • Loud phone conversations: While at home, workers might be used to taking calls without worrying about volume levels. However, in an office setting, it’s crucial to remember that others are trying to concentrate and loud conversations can be disruptive.
  • Leaving a mess: Remote workers may have become accustomed to leaving dishes unwashed or allowing clutter to accumulate. Maintaining a clean and organized workspace is not only important for one’s own productivity but also shows respect for colleagues.
  • Inappropriate conversations: Discussing topics that could potentially make coworkers uncomfortable should be avoided in the workplace. It’s essential to maintain professional boundaries and respect the diverse perspectives of your fellow employees.
  • Poor email communication: Clear and concise emails are key to effective workplace communication. Lengthy messages and excessive use of emojis or informal language can lead to misunderstandings and come across as unprofessional.
  • Dressing inappropriately: While remote work might have allowed for more relaxed attire, employees should ensure they are dressed appropriately for their office environment and adhere to any dress codes that may be in place.

Addressing the Generational Gap: Supporting Gen Z Workers

As many young professionals from Generation Z enter the workforce, it is important to recognize that this demographic may have limited experience in a traditional office setting due to the pandemic. Employers can support these new employees by providing targeted etiquette training that specifically addresses areas where they may struggle, such as understanding professional dress codes or navigating nuanced email communication.

Tips for Reacclimating to Office Life

To help ease the transition back into an office environment, consider the following suggestions:

  • Mind your noise levels: Be aware of the volume of your phone conversations and try using headphones while listening to music or watching videos to minimize disruptions.
  • Respect shared spaces: Clean up after yourself in common areas such as kitchens, bathrooms, and conference rooms. This ensures a pleasant and hygienic workspace for everyone.
  • Watch your language: Keep conversations respectful and avoid discussing potentially controversial topics during working hours.
  • Keep emails concise and professional: Limit the use of emojis and informal language in email correspondence and focus on clear, well-structured messaging.
  • Adhere to dress codes: Familiarize yourself with the company’s dress code policy and ensure you are dressed accordingly.

The Role of Employers in Reinforcing Office Etiquette

Employers play a pivotal role in fostering a professional workplace environment by setting clear expectations and offering support. Companies can invest in etiquette training for employees, provide resources, host team-building activities, and encourage open communication. By addressing potential issues proactively, employers can create a welcoming and cohesive work environment where all employees are comfortable and able to perform at their best.

As employees return to the office after working remotely during the pandemic, it is crucial for both workers and employers to recognize the importance of relearning and reinforcing proper office etiquette. Taking these steps will not only help ease the transition back into a physical workplace but also ensure a harmonious and productive environment for all.


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