4 – A decline in office etiquette
By no means are we hoity-toity but we’re not the biggest fans of having to listen to the tiled echo of your bathroom while on a virtual call. Please don’t take us in there, virtually or otherwise, okay?
Whether your office is starched white shirt formal or a more jeans and joggers kind of place there was always (we hope) some level of professionalism being maintained.
Informality in the workplace is definitely on the rise and we don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing, although according to etiquette guru Judith Martin this informality – knowing your boss on a ‘first-name’ basis, wearing loafers and after-hours socialising – have “destroyed the sense of boundaries that characterises professional behaviour.” We’re not sure we’d take it quite that far, but she makes a salient point about boundaries and their importance at work here: “If you flirt with somebody at a party, that person can’t have you arrested. But if you flirt at the office, it could cost you your job.” You need to know where the lines are drawn; “setting formal limits to behaviour reduces the chance of conflict from the outset” whether that conflict is interpersonal or has to do with company policy.
The lack of etiquette guidelines in the virtual work world is a problem. There are mounting examples of inappropriate virtual behaviour – from offensive video call backgrounds, to using crass language and wearing pyjamas to meet the CEO, people are losing professional perspective the longer they work outside the formal office environment. One example of lost perspective comes from Mindshare global CEO Nick Emery. Apparently Emery, who had been at the company since 1997, took a webcam into his toilet while on a Zoom call. Now you can’t tell me, had you been in a physical office, that you would have called a meeting with your team while on the loo? So why is it suddenly okay now? If Emery’s swift firing for breaching the company’s code of conduct through this stunt is anything to go by, it’s really not okay.
Another etiquette issue that’s arisen in how people believe you’re now indefinitely contactable. As one executive at JPMorgan Chase & Co reported, they now get “unapologetic messages from colleagues on nights and weekends.”
This is where an office aided in designating your ‘contactability’; unless it was a crisis, if you were out of the office you were simply out, and people respected that (for the most part).
So to combat these pet peeves and reclaim a few boundaries get back to the office we say! And of course, we’d highly recommend our functional, affordable, good-looking office spaces in Cape Town and Joburg when you decide to do it. We’re also fully COVID compliant and have coffee that’ll make you hum with pleasure. Explore our spaces today.