The Values of Workplace Etiquette

As we spent the last two years primarily working from home, workplace etiquette took a backseat. Now as we ease back into spending more time in an office environment, workplace etiquette has made its way to the forefront once again. However, some off-site habits do not necessarily need to follow us back to the office. Now is the opportune time for us to refamiliarize ourselves with what workplace etiquette means at UT.

Exercising Social Skills

While socialization amongst coworkers is encouraged throughout the workweek, it is important to remember how to do so professionally in and out of the office. From office events to meeting coworkers after hours, understanding their comfort level for socialization is key. It may take a moment to get back into the swing of proper social skills. Taking it one day at a time is the best way to proceed as you start to relearn the social habits of your colleagues.

Workplace Attire

Office attire is one of the biggest shifts for employees as they start their journey back into the office. From leisurewear to appropriate workplace attire that matches your day, the right outfit not only portrays employees’ personalities but also highlights their professionalism for work and life. It is possible to marry the comfort of leisurewear and the professionalism of proper workplace attire. While it may take a moment to perfect this style, play around with your clothing items to see how you can feel good and look great.


The last two years have been filled with solo work. Every employee has developed a personalized way to work that best suits them. It can be easy to bring your at-home habits to the office, such as putting on your headphones and tuning out those around you. While this is acceptable when you work remotely, communication is key in an office environment. Being in the same location as your coworkers lends itself to great collaboration. Utilizing the in-person time you have to connect on projects or conduct brainstorming sessions will ultimately allow you to overcome potential roadblocks without waiting on an email response. It is ideal to help others know that you are open to communicate throughout the day. This can be done by leaving one headphone out of your ear, walking around the office and connecting with colleagues or sitting in a communal location for lunch.


The days that you work in the office require additional planning whether it be accounting for your commute, setting alarms to wake up a little earlier or ensuring that your packed lunch makes it to the office. With these tasks in mind, it is important to remain punctual when you are coming and going from your workspace. This not only helps you create healthy work habits when you are in your office, but it also helps others understand what your schedule looks like at the beginning and end of the day.


At-Home Workplace Etiquette

Workplace etiquette developed on-site can transition to the days where you work remotely as well. From dressing professionally for on-camera meetings to giving your full attention to your fellow colleagues, we can always illustrate a modicum of professionalism from the comfort of our own homes. Below are some additional tips to exercise on the days that you work remotely.

  1. Mute yourself when you are not speaking during video calls.
  2. Connect with your colleagues throughout the day.
  3. Dress professionally on camera.
  4. Have a clean, simple backdrop for video calls so there are minimal distractions.
  5. Avoid responding to emails while in video calls.
  6. Respect others’ time.


Return to the Workplace Toolkit

As we continue to spend more time in the office, the UT System Human Resources created a Return to the Workplace Toolkit to make the transition efortless for all employees. This toolkit offers helpful resources for both managers and employees. As University of Tennessee System Administration begins reintegrating its workforce to more on-site activities, strategic action plans will be vital. The toolkit shares the best practices for welcoming faculty and staff back to their respective spaces, mindful approaches for returning to the office as well as resources for in-person and work-from-home planning and tracking. Resources, trainings and the complete toolkit are available at:

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