Closer interactions with colleagues, smaller offices and frequent client facing situations make etiquettes crucial for small businesses. While business and work etiquettes are important for any organization, the need for them is heightened in small businesses.
Smaller office spaces mean that you work more closely with your colleagues than you would at a larger organization.
A lot of small businesses interact with clients in-person, rather than through emails or teleconferences. Under these circumstances one needs to be acutely aware of their etiquette and personal grooming.
This will help create a better impression for your enterprise and will also facilitate a more conducive work environment. Here are some dos and don’ts of work place etiquettes.
Casual not shabby Many small businesses are more relaxed about what their employees wear to work. They tend to move away from conventional formal looks and opt for smart casuals. Remember that casuals do not mean shabby.
Make an effort to wear clothes that complement each other. Wear your clothes neatly washed and pressed. Match your belt and shoes, while keeping them both in good condition.
Personal hygiene For many, personal hygiene is a given but you would still come across colleagues who neither keep themselves nor their immediate work environment clean. This includes bad breath, body odour, smelly sock, dirty desks etc. Have an honest discussion with any colleague about how his/her lack of hygiene is affecting the work environment.
Make sure to not sound offensive during your discussion. Timelines Be it one’s punctuality to work or making sure client deliverables are met on time; it is important that deadlines are met. Respecting other people’s time is an important business etiquette that directly translates into better work ethic.
Mobile mania It is not just mobile phones anymore, smart phones have invaded the offices. Smart phones are great for multitasking and saving time, but they are also great at offending people.
Staring down at your phone while speaking to colleagues, constantly checking it, not putting it on silent and leaving it buzzing on the desk are some acts that can annoy colleagues and disturb the flow of work.
Speaking loudly There is no excuse for this habit anywhere but it is especially detrimental for small businesses. Speaking loudly can easily disturb other people, it can make the speaker come across as rude or even uncouth.
Make a conscious attempt to monitor your tone and decibel level while communicating in-person or over the phone.
Listen Most of us love speaking about ourselves and like listening to our own voices, but constantly interrupting another person while they are making a point is rude. The more you listen to your client or colleague, the better your insights about your business. The art of listening is an etiquette that can give an edge by helping you accumulate relevant business information.
Culturally sensitive Being culturally sensitive is vital for organizations of any size. Especially in a culturally rich and diverse country like India, one needs to make an effort to sound politically correct and be respectful of any cultural differences at the work place.
Ban slang “Btw, we gonna meet l8r rite?” might sound fine when you are messaging your friend to confirm plans but it does not work when you want to confirm a meeting with a client. Make sure to ban slang and SMS lingo from all your business communications- both internal and external. This will ensure that any communication sounds professional and will also make employees more aware about any grammatical errors.
Top-down approach The best way to ensure that business etiquettes are being followed at your organization is to adopt a top-down approach. The business operators/ owners and the top management need to lead by example, for the rest of the enterprise to be aware of the right conduct at work.