Are bad manners hurting your career?

Saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ do count, especially in the workplace – and a recent survey of Canadian workers show that nine in 10 believe it has an impact on your career prospects.

Are bad manners hurting your career?
Saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ do count, especially in the workplace – and a recent survey of Canadian workers show that nine in 10 believe it has an impact on your career prospects.

They say it's lonely at the top, and poor manners might at least be partially to blame, a recent Accountemps survey suggests. More than 90 per cent of Canadian survey respondents said being courteous to coworkers has an impact on a person's career prospects.

However, 63 per cent of workers believe people become less courteous as they climb the corporate ladder.

“At any stage in your career, the essence of workplace etiquette is about always being respectful and aware of your actions, and how they have the potential to negatively affect those around you,” said Dianne Hunnam-Jones, Canadian district president of Accountemps. “By the nature of their demanding schedules and external pressures, some executives may lose sight of how their actions affect their teams when it comes to exercising courtesy and leading by example.”

As for the ‘open office concept,’ bad behaviours can quickly be exposed.

“There has been much debate about open concept office spaces - on one hand they can foster an environment of collaboration and camaraderie,” says Hunnam-Jones, “but they can also expose behaviours that can distract people around, which can lead to problems.

"Displaying courtesy in a professional setting may not be all it takes to rise through the ranks, but it can only help your career in the long run.”

Among the rank and file, open office spaces also may give rise to bad manners.

What did people say was the biggest breach of open office etiquette?

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When employees were asked to name the biggest breach of workplace etiquette in this type of office environment, using a speakerphone or talking loudly on the phone topped the list (28 per cent); eating foods that have strong odours ranked second (20 per cent).

The survey included responses from more than 265 employees 18 years of age and older who work in an office environment in Canada.

Workers were asked, ‘In your opinion, to what extent does being courteous to coworkers positively impact a person's career prospects?’
Somewhat, but skills play a bigger role     49%
Greatly, it can accelerate advancement     42%
No impact at all, it's who or what you know     6%
Don't know           3%

Workers also were asked, 'In your opinion, do people become more or less courteous as they climb the corporate ladder?'
More courteous     17%
Less courteous     63%
Don't know/Didn't answer     20%

Workers also were asked, 'Which one of the following do you consider to be the biggest breach of workplace etiquette when working in an open office space?'
Using a speakerphone or talking loudly on the phone     28%
Loitering or talking around a colleague's desk     18%
Eating foods that have strong odors     20%
Keeping a messy or cluttered workspace      10%
Leaving phone ringer on loud     14%
Don't know/can't choose just one     4%
Something else           6%