5 Office Etiquette Fails That Can Ruin Your Career

Manners, when it comes right down to it, exist so that we don't drive each other crazy, or become driven crazy in turn. Nowhere is this more important than in the office, where long hours and close proximity breed strange (and resentful) bedfellows.

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(Photo Credit: hans.gerwitz.com)

The Protocol School of Washington, an professional etiquette training organization, offered a few tips in a recent Reuters article. While many might seem like common sense, think about how many times you've recently spotted a coworker violate one or more of these rules:

1. Do not use your smartphone/tablet/laptop to multitask during a conversation or meeting.

This was a big beef among executives who took a recent Robert Half survey; 64 percent said that the use of technology was detrimental to workers' manners.

2. Don't steal people's stuff.

You can call it "borrowing," but if that laptop charger/Post-It pad/big red stapler started out on someone else's desk, it's not yours for the taking.

3. Dress appropriately for work.

Many offices no longer have a dress code or don't strictly enforce it. That is not an invitation for you to get in a few last days wearing your favorite beach ensemble before it gets cold.

4. Clean up after yourself.

Your mother, as the saying goes, definitely does not work there. And even if she did, come on: you're a grown up. You can wash your own mug. At the very least, doing so cuts down on the number of passive-aggressive notes pasted up in the kitchen, and that's worth any inconvenience.

5. Be on time.

Sometimes, being late is unavoidable. But if you're always five minutes late to meetings, calls, and appointments, your coworkers are getting the message that their time is less valuable than yours. Not a great way to encourage teamwork and the spirit of cooperation.

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