Spending forty hours a week at your job involves spending a large portion of time with those you work with. Because you spend so much time together, it is important to maintain a professional and courteous relationship with those around you. Avoid the old sentiment ‘familiarity breeds contempt’ by practicing these ideas on how to exercise courtesy with your coworkers.

Develop Relationships

Work hard to develop and maintain relationships with those around you. When you speak to your coworkers, maintain eye contact and listen intently. Try to remember the little details that they choose to share. Ask them what’s going on in their lives. You don’t have to dive deep into these relationships. Ultimately, you go to work to do your job, not socialize extensively. However, showing genuine concern and care for your officemates goes a long way. You have a responsibility to help foster a positive work environment. Don’t take that lightly!

Watch your Words

You don’t want to be known around your office as the one who gossips. If you are approached with gossip or any other form of inappropriate conversation, shut it down. Your workplace is not the correct environment for talking negatively about one another or telling inappropriate jokes. In addition, steer clear of conversations regarding hot button topics as well. If you can, avoid talking about religion and politics as well. These topics tend to be extremely emotionally charged. The last thing you want is to cause tension at work over a disagreement regarding personal beliefs.

Respect Time and Effort

There are simple things you can do to show your coworkers and your boss that you respect them. For example, you can show up on time for work, meetings, presentations, etc. Nobody likes to feel as though their time is being wasted. In doing this, you are using your actions to tell your coworkers that you respect their time as much as your own. Another way you can show respect to your coworkers is by acknowledging their successes. If they perform exceptionally in a group project or even in a solo venture, celebrate with them. Show that you respect and appreciate their hard work. It’s always nice to feel acknowledged!


This should go without saying, but don’t bring stinky food into your job. Save your fish, hardboiled eggs, and other pungent foods for another time. There are few things worse than unpleasant smells lingering around your workspace. Another way to show courtesy in the workplace involves the sharing of food. If you feel inclined to bring food into the office, make sure you take into account the dietary preferences or allergies of your coworkers. Restrictions might include preferences such as being pescatarian, vegetarian, or vegan, while some coworkers might have health concerns such as food allergies, lactose intolerance, and gluten sensitivity. These should be taken seriously and considered when bringing food to share.


Being kind and courteous doesn’t require a lot of effort. It simply requires occasional bouts of thoughtfulness. Always show courtesy to your coworkers. Be inclusive. In doing so you will help maintain levels of productivity and more importantly,