5 Outrageous Workplace Etiquette Mistakes
Life + Money

5 Outrageous Workplace Etiquette Mistakes


Eating really smelly food in an open workspace can be a really big problem – if your goal is to get ahead any time soon, that is.

As a piece in Fast Company put it not long ago, “When was the last time you heard, ‘Wow, that fish smells really great!’ Yeah, we thought so.” 

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If you can’t live without your favorite cheesesteak and fried onions, or kimchi, or curried coconut chicken, or burnt microwaved popcorn – you’re better off eating that food at home or after work if you want to do right by your boss and your colleagues.   

Here’s why this matters. A recent survey by Accountemps, the world’s largest temporary staffing company, found that more than 8 in 10 respondents, or 85 percent, believe that being courteous to people at work has a measurable impact on one’s career prospects. And courteousness includes your choice of eat-in foods.

Sure, skills, knowledge, productivity and dedication are all critical to career success today, but workers overlook their behavior toward others at their peril – and 70 percent of workers said their colleagues exhibit more bad manners the higher up they climb.  

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Interestingly, the biggest rule breaker in terms of work etiquette isn’t bringing in bad food smells. Take a look at the top five breaches of workplace etiquette in today’s open workspaces as rated by the respondents of this new survey – and decide if you’ve made the list:

  • Using a speakerphone or talking loudly on a phone: 36 percent
  • Loitering or talking near a colleague’s desk: 23 percent
  • Eating foods that have strong odors: 15 percent
  • Keeping a messy or cluttered workspace: 14 percent
  • Leaving the phone ringer on loud: 8 percent

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