They say it’s lonely at the top, and poor manners might at least be partially to blame, a Accountemps survey suggests. Being courteous to coworkers has an impact on a person’s career prospects, say 91% of respondents. However, 63% 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,” says 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.”

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

“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.”

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Among the rank and file, open office spaces also may give rise to bad manners. 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 with 28% of responses and eating foods that have strong odours ranked second 20%.

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Other results:

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%
Total 100%

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%
Total 100%

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%
Total 100%

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