Defined office etiquette is necessary to ensure that people sharing a common space are respectful towards each other, says Courtenay Kleu, CEO of The School of Etiquette, even though South Africans tend to be more casual at the office than workers in many other countries.
“Etiquette depends on the environment or culture that you find yourself in,” Kleu told Business Insider South Africa.
“Each person needs to be able to adapt their behaviour to suit the environment or group of people that they find themselves in.”
Riandi Conradie, founder of the South African Etiquette Academy, says although many of aspects of business have moved online sphere, real-life interaction remains the most important part of the industry.
“Etiquette is important as it gives an international guideline of how to act in any situation.”
Conradie and Kleu gave Business Insider South Africa a list of eight office kitchen behaviours where South Africans should improve.
It is unappealing for others to put their food into a dirty microwave, Kleu says.
“The splattered microwave which may adjust the flavour of their own meal,” she says.
Also, open a window to let the smell of your food out.”
Its common decency to notify the office kitchen planner should someone finish products such as the sugar, milk or coffee, Conradie says.
It is easy to forget your lunch box in the office fridge at the end of the day, Conradie says.
“If this happens you are taking up space in the fridge, as well as the possibility that the food can go off.”
That is your responsibility.
“There is nothing more frustrating than arriving in the kitchen to enjoy your long awaited meal and someone has snatched it," Kleu says.
“This is ultimate selfishness and one hopes karma will get you back three times worse.”
People should absolutely avoid bringing food to work with strong smells which might make others uncomfortable, says Conradie.
“Foods with strong smells include eggs, cabbage and fish.”
People tend to forget that they are sharing a space with other people, Kleu says.
Wash you own plates, mugs, knives and forks.
“Often the cleanliness of our living spaces reflects clarity of mind. When we see a mess, it creates chaos in our brains.”
People should always fill up the kettle after using it for the next person, Conradie says.
“This gesture shows that you are courteous to others.”
It is considered rude to comment on your colleague’s lunch, Conradie says.
“Keep your opinions to yourself, as you might offend someone.”
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