In any social situation, there exists a set of unspoken guidelines participants are expected to follow. To breach this etiquette can earn you at least a few strange looks, and at most might damage your reputation beyond repair. Virtues such as courtesy and kindness are not exclusive to a business setting, but how they are applied in the workplace differs slightly to significantly from other social settings.

To avoid any potential workplace taboos, keep in mind these tips on how to conduct yourself in a professional environment.

  1. Memorize Co-workers’ Names – While memorizing names in any social setting is a near universal sign of respect, being able to identify your co-workers by name proves automatically that you are empathetic enough to recognize their personhood, and indicates openness to cooperation, a necessary factor in workplace success.
  2. Keep Office Emails Professional and Error-Free – Treating each email as if it were a personal address to the head of your company will make you appear organized and careful, and will reflect positively upon your work.

  3. Arrive on Time – Always showing up promptly proves that you value the time of others as much as your own. In a manager’s mind, an employee’s timeliness correlates directly with their capacity for responsibility.

  4. Keep Your Workspace Clean – Uncluttering your work area will not only boost your productivity, but also the efficiency of your co-workers, since locating requested info will no longer require you to shuffle through piles of strewn paper or lingering trash from lunch.

  5. Set Your Phone To Vibrate – Maybe you do have the greatest ringtone ever, but it’s likely many of your co-workers won’t share your opinion. Putting your phone on vibrate will prevent disruptive noises and avoid touching nerves.

  6. Use Headphones – There’s nothing wrong with a bit of music to get you in a workday state of mind. Just try to to keep your playlists contained to the place they were meant to be heard: your own ears.

  7. Pay Attention During Meetings – Unless you’re looking to anger supervisors and annoy co-workers, keeping focused and attentive throughout team meetings is a fantastic rule to stay employed by.

  8. If You’re Sick, Stay Home – You may think soldiering on through illness will win you heaps of respect, but no one wants the headache of a sore throat, runny nose or upset stomach. So instead of infecting the office, do what any good soldier would: stay home, recoup, and live to fight another day.

  9. Respect Others’ Boundaries – Recognize what is available for personal use and what is not, and you will appear mindful and considerate. Don’t eat a lunch that isn’t yours (ever), and avoid using others’ personal property without permission.

  10. Remain Calm and In Control – Surround yourself with a variety of personalities, and you might clash with a few. An open mind and empathy toward peers’ perspectives will keep your emotions checked, your judgement clear, and your office peaceful.

For more helpful tips on workplace etiquette, check here.