Q: I am taking my first writing class at night school, and my last paper is on argument and persuasion. Since I work in an office all day, I thought I would write about how bad manners and poor etiquette have invaded the workplace. I am talking about the small stuff that becomes annoying day after day, like talking on cellphones in the break room, not cleaning out the fridge or microwave, and failing to put new paper in the printer. Maybe I expect too much of my co-workers, but I can’t believe I am the only one who thinks bad manners in the office are back!
A: The biggest change I notice lately is that people are finally demanding that something be done about the rudeness and inconsideration that’s prevalent in the workplace. Employees want a pleasant work environment, and they’re even willing to leave their jobs if the environment is unpleasant. Replacing a worker for such a totally preventable reason is simply an unacceptable cost for businesses today. A much easier solution is to foster a pleasant, positive, responsible atmosphere. To do this, management needs to lead by example, while also making it clear that they expect this example to be followed throughout the organization. Every worker can begin by being responsible for his or her own actions, including cleaning up any mess in the kitchen, replenishing the copier paper, and refraining from personal grooming at their desks.