Manners Important to Career Advancement

November 10, 2011 ( - A new Robert Half survey finds nearly half (48%) of workers interviewed said being courteous to others can help an employee rise through the ranks.

Another 41% said etiquette plays at least some role in career advancement, but skills play a bigger role. Only 10% indicated being courteous has no impact at all on career prospects.  

Robert Half also has introduced new videos illustrating some of the most egregious examples of office etiquette faux pas as part of the firm’s ongoing video series, “Don’t Let This Happen to You.” The lighthearted videos, including “The Cupcake Caper,” along with advice on avoiding common blunders, can be found at  

The survey was developed by Robert Half International, conducted by an independent research firm, and is based on interviews with more than 430 workers 18 years of age or older and employed in office environments.   

Robert Half also asked workers to recount the worst or wackiest etiquette blunders they’ve witnessed or heard about in the workplace. 

Some of the more memorable anecdotes about etiquette blunders are: 

  • "While collaborating on a project, I saw an employee yell, 'Forget this!' and throw all the papers she was holding into the air as she walked out." 
  • "A coworker fell asleep at her desk and another team member took a picture of her snoozing and sent it to the boss." 
  • "A colleague of mine would actually clip his nails at his desk while working." 
  • "Someone was stealing other people's lunches from the lounge area." 
  • "A colleague purposely sneezed in the boss's coffee cup." 
  • "A coworker had a drink at lunch and returned to work tipsy. It was awkward." 
  • "After asking me a question, a coworker talked excessively for 30 minutes without letting me get in one word." 
  • "Someone didn't get what he wanted and loudly hung up on a conference call." 
  • "I once heard an employee screaming at a customer." 
  • "A colleague was making fun of other people's work in public." 
  • "Someone thought he put a customer on hold and then used inappropriate language within earshot." 
  • "Employees were walking around the office barefoot." 
  • "A person took a cell phone into the restroom while still talking."