Office Mistakes And How To Avoid Doing Them

David Blog
by David Blog
Sep 11, 2019 at 10:31 AM

It’s come to my realization that some people don’t really understand the unspoken social rules and etiquette of the office. This isn’t a major mistake, but it does reflect poorly on you as a person, and it may make some of your more senior colleagues look at you in a different light. Here are some things that you should not do at work and how to properly behave to look more professional in the office!



  1. Leave The Hoodie At Home

  • Even though the office aircond can be super cold.

  •  Same goes for the leggings, unless carefully paired with a a dress or something of appropriate length. 

  • Dress professionally, and don’t wear something that is too improper for the office.

  • Rule of thumb, dress in a way that if your mother saw you, she’d think, “Now that’s a lovely outfit!” 

  • In a casual or business casual office environment, you might not get in trouble for eccentric style, but you’ll risk not being taken seriously.



  1. Respect The Clients

  • Client-time at the office means higher stress levels and higher standards of professionalism for everybody. 

  • When clients stop by for a meeting or a check-in, make sure that you’re aware of the code of conduct.

  •  It’ll be stricter than those casual Fridays when the rules are slightly more relaxed, and the same jokes and banter with your boss may not fly when the clients are watching.

  • Remember, when clients are around, ALWAYS be as professional as you can be!



  1. Don’t Take Work As A Social Gathering

  • Sure, it is nice to hang out in the coffee room or pantry all day, especially when there’s juicy gossip going around or when you’re tired and just don’t feel like working. 

  • But work isn’t a party. It’s great to have friends at work and to form relationships with your co-workers—but don’t get distracted by water cooler banter.

  • By doing this, trust me, at least one of your colleagues would be annoyed at your behavior.



  1. Don’t Make Improper Jokes

  • In my previous job, I’ve seen one of my kind and intelligent colleague get fired for his slightly inappropriate sense of humor, when another colleague took it the wrong way. 

  • You can’t always judge how someone is going to interpret your jokes, so it’s better that you save the improper ones for happy hour—or better yet, for your friends.



  1. Know When To Let Things Go

  • Work is not the place to argue with peoples’ personal beliefs.

  •  At an after-work happy hour, I once learned that three of my colleagues were racist and would talk sh*t about the other colleagues of other races. 

  • I’ve never been a racist, and I did not appreciate the things they said about my other wonderful colleagues, but if I’d shared that with this crew, I’m certain they wouldn’t have appreciated it. 

  • So, try to appreciate (and if you cannot, just tolerate) others’ points of view, and leave it at that.



  1. Don’t Delay Bearing Bad News

  • You accidentally sent the clients the wrong email, and when your boss finds out, she’s going to be furious.

  •  You’re tempted to avoid telling her, hoping maybe the problem will go away. 

  • You pray the clients’ email server is down and has deleted everything. There’s one problem: that'll never work. 

  •  When you make a mistake, explain what happened, take the necessary steps to rectify the situation, and move forward.

  •  Everyone makes mistakes, and your supervisor will appreciate your directness.


Whether you’re scrambling or trudging through tasks on your to-do list, remember there’s also a “to-not-do” list at the office. When you feel the urge to do something inappropriate or short-sighted, realize it'll reflect on you and can leave a lasting impression on your boss and co-workers. So say goodbye to that inappropriate behavior and time wasting, and hello to a more productive work-day.