Are you one of ‘those’ coworkers? How to contribute to a pleasant workspace

When coworkers are polite, respectful and mindful of body language and social cues, everyone is, in turn, more efficient.

Recently, HuffPost published a list of 27 tweets from various employees lamenting the unbearable coworkers that inhabit their workspace. Some of my personal favorites are below:

Now these excerpts, in particular, are equal parts hilarious and traumatic for me because I’m a version of all the people being shamed in them. I used to work at a specialty cake place and whenever one of the ribbons didn’t quite fit around one of the boxes I’d say: “We’re gonna need a bigger bow! Like from Jaws. You ever see Jaws?”

Because of a scheduling mishap when I used to work at Starbucks I had to bring my dad’s ashes to work with me one day. In an attempt to defuse the melancholy, I asked a customer if her tea needed a scoop ofdead-beat” (my dad actually being a great guy was the only silver lining in the tangible lack of laughter this remark inspired). I’m also particularly bad at picking up on “please stop talking to me signals” which would be bad enough on its own except I’m also extremely boring – an utterly charisma-less doofus.

I wrote an article about how we can all adopt the teachings of stoicism in order to lead more productive, less stressed filled days at work. But for those of us that can’t help but be plagued by the worry that we’re the protagonist of the tales of horror told around the dinner table, here are some things to be mindful of.

How to contribute to a pleasant workspace

When starting out at a new job it’s important to get a gauge of everyone’s tastes. We have to be adaptable–that isn’t to say “fake” but apt at translating all the stuff that makes us-us in the language most relevant to our surroundings.

This includes how you say certain things, not saying certain things all together, and even the general aesthetics of your desk.

A good blanket rule for social etiquette in most workplaces: do not draw any kind of attention to yourself if you can help it.

This means avoiding politics (Q How was your weekend? A Soo racist)

Determining how much to divulge about your personal life (Q How was your weekend? A Better than my terminally ill mother in law).

Expressing your interest too feverishly (Q How was your weekend? A Oh so great! Scored the spanks Steven Seagull wore on the set of A Good Day To Kill Hardest 2: The Harder They Kill. Only 2k? Nuts, right?).

Or being a long-winded cocktail of all those things (How was your weekend A We’ll to answer that, first I have to explain the Syrian refugee crisis.)

Keep it short, keep it simple: (How was your weekend? Fine.)

A new study conducted by the University Of Michigan found that things like “desk clutter” which is often overlooked when talking about performance, establishes an impression of a neurotic unstable worker to your bosses and coworkers. This also goes for employers:  Business Matters reports “54% of respondents admitting they would consider turning down a job if the kitchen was not up to scratch.” Make cleanliness a priority.

Adherence to these things will tend to have a positive effect on performance as well. Etiquette expert, Myka Meir put together a fairly detailed list of all the day to day stuff to be aware of if you want to foster a pleasant work environment. Things like not eating messy, slurpy, splattery foods at your desk. Reserving horsing around banter for the water cooler, doing your part to maintain a clean restroom and even staying home when you’re violently ill.

Little nuggets of considerate behavior congeal to depict a well-adjusted, agreeable individual that makes the day-to-day that much easier. The Society Of Human Resource Management conducted a study in which 72% of employee names respect the most important factor in deterring work input and engagement.

Office etiquette is an important part of transforming office culture. When everyone is polite, respectful and mindful of body language and social cues, everyone is, in turn, more efficient.

CW Headley|is a reporter for Ladders and can be reached at cheadley@theladders.com.