Office etiquette: Rules to get through that 9 to 5

Office etiquette is something we may not think about, but it dominates our day-to-day. A workshop taking place in Saskatoon will help new hires navigate through the unspoken rules.

Expert says even saying 'thank you' the wrong way can affect your work relationships

Linda Yip says the most common mistake new hires make is that they don't ask for help. (Credit: iStock/Getty Images)

Learning the ins and outs of office etiquette can be tough, but it's those unwritten rules of the 9 to 5 that can really make or break you when entering a new job.

"I think what people don't realize is that business is an environment all to its own," Linda Yip, mentor-for-hire with the Admin Gap, told CBC Radio's Saskatoon Morning.

"It has its own commonsense rules, which people understand after you've been there for years."
Through years of experience, Linda Yip has mastered the dos and don'ts of office etiquette. (Submitted by Linda Yip)

According to Yip, the most common mistake new hires make is that they don't ask for help. She said people are generally nervous to ask the questions that reveal their ignorance.

"Honestly, the company spent a lot of time and money finding you, so they're invested in having you learn as quickly as possible."

She said one major faux pas that can interfere with work relationships is as simple as showing appreciation and saying "thank you" the wrong way.

"You can get it wrong by failing to recognize everyone that's helped ... because the people that you may have overlooked and you may have forgotten — those people will remember."

She said in an office setting, it's better to bring a tray of treats to the entire group as opposed to selecting a few people to take out for lunch.

Top 3 unspoken rules

Yip said there are three main things people should keep in mind when going through the first few months in a new office job.

  1. Dress the part: Look the part of the job that you want and not the job that you have, because people visualize — if you're thinking about a management position — whether or not you visually fit there.
  2. Separate business life from personal life: A business environment is different than your home life. You need to bring your professional self to the office.
  3. Apply your whole self to the job: A job is always more than the initial set of tasks at hand. Employers don't know what you can bring to the table until you can offer that.

On Wednesday night, Yip will be running a free workshop in Saskatoon at the Cliff Wright library branch called "How to Survive in the Office."

With files from CBC Radio's Saskatoon Morning