Workplace etiquette across cultures

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Manners maketh the businessman, with a global survey finding Americans and Britons to be the most easily insulted by lack of workplace etiquette, while Australians are among the most offensive.

The survey, by Australian-based international office space provider Servcorp, listed the top five most offensive workplace behaviors as not saying hello or good morning, not offering office guests a beverage, speaking loudly across the room, using swear words and taking calls on mobile phones.

The use of stationery without permission and asking colleagues about their personal lives were also deemed insulting.

The poll then revealed the United States and Britain to be the most sensitive nations in the world, despite 60 percent of respondents believing Japan has the strictest work etiquette.

English and American businessmen were also more easily offended than their colleagues in the Middle East, Japan and China, nations with cultural traditions spanning centuries.

Almost 25 percent of Australians, however, thought it was perfectly acceptable to swear — something the majority of Japanese and Middle Easterners found deeply offensive.

What Kwintessential say:

Etiquette is no longer about the rules and protocol of dining, invitations, dress and what kind of flowers to buy people. Displaying good manners is now an essential part of learning to do business on a global level.

At Kwintessential we provide international etiquette courses aimed at helping individuals fit in more comfortably when working in foreign environments or offices.

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