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  • Writer's pictureChris Moore

Office Etiquette Is As Important When Leaving As It Was the Day You Started!



The past few years have seen unprecedented change in business. There was the COVID-19 pandemic, followed by the great resignation. And then came the employee burnout epidemic - 


There may never be a time when “the stars align” and make everyone happy but some things are always right, and some are always wrong.


Let’s look at office etiquette. Any reasonably intelligent person knows the basics of good office etiquette.

  • Be punctual.

  • Dress appropriately, properly groomed.

  • Respect others’ personal space and personal belongings.

  • Keep interactions professional.

  • Keep your desk/work area clean and organized.

  • Avoid foods with noxious odors in the office.

  • Focus on presenters in meetings.

  • Welcome new team members to the group.

  • Keep conversations and phone calls to an appropriate indoor level.

  • Keep your personal calls personal.

  • Keep confidential company information confidential.

  • Respond to calls and emails punctually and professionally.

  • Clean up after yourself.

  • Replenish items in common areas. 

  • Keep your personal emails on personal email accounts. Business email licenses do not belong to you, they belong to the company you work for. If you regularly use business email accounts for personal business, you will lose access to those emails after you leave.

 

This all sounds pretty basic…. because it is. But things change and so do the people you work with, and someone is preparing to leave or has already left. The world keeps spinning and business will continue. Now it’s time for a replacement or possibly to realign duties. Whatever that course of action is, business has to continue. If you did not initiate the separation, you probably will not have the options of how, when, and to whom your work is passed off to. Your personal belongings may be packed up for you so the state your work area is left in is ultimately not up to you. 


But this move was your choice. You were offered a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, family obligations changed, a new career path, you’ve decided it’s time to start slowing your professional life down, and you want to work for yourself now. The reasons at this point are not important, you have committed to the change. Now emails and phone calls still need to and will be answered. Invoices and orders will be processed, filed, and paid. Files will be handled. Now it’s up to you how the people handling those tasks after you’re done will think of and remember how you staged the transition.


  • Avoid short-timer syndrome at all costs. If you have committed to working to a specific date do everything up to the time you leave that day as you have always done. If you don’t want to work out the remainder of your time ethically, don’t do it at all.  

  • Get any files, and/or information you have been responsible for in order for an organized transfer.

  • Pack up and remove your personal belongings. 

  • Prepare any hard copies of files that have to be maintained for storage or shredding if not to be stored.

  • Keep all pertinent business emails for whoever may need them after your departure. Remember, business email accounts belong to and are administrated by the company you worked for. Deleting your email history is a bad idea. It doesn’t look good, unless you are asked to do so, and, generally, properly configured business emails can be restored by an admin for up to 30 days.  

  • This one is more of a personal opinion of what you shouldn’t do but – if you have used company computers to access personal social media or web browser accounts - sign out of those accounts. 

 

Generally speaking, with a few rare exceptions, you will be remembered more for the manner in which you left than how you performed during your tenure at your position.

 

How do you want to be remembered long-term?

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