What Are The Unwritten Rules At Your Office?

What Are The Unwritten Rules At Your Office?

Every workplace has a set of unwritten rules that you have to learn through observation and experience. Knowing them can sometimes serve you better than knowing the actual rules of the office. What unwritten rules do you have in your workplace?

Photo by SmartSign

Ben Weiss, writing for US News, highlights the importance of knowing these rules:

Every office will have customs, traditions or tendencies that aren’t found in any official corporate collateral, and a new hire can prove both sharp and competent by picking up on them quickly. “You may discover that your team members meet for coffee in the cafeteria 20 minutes before work and you could fit in more quickly if you joined them,” says Joseph Kotlinski, partner at staffing firm WinterWyman. “You may also find ways to lose favour with your bosses by not paying attention to the culture. If, for instance, a VP uses a conference room on most Wednesdays at 9:00 a.m. even though it isn’t on the schedule, don’t book a meeting in the same room at 8:45 a.m.”

What unwritten rules do you have to follow in your workplace? Tell us in the comments.

5 Ways to Earn Respect as a New Hire [US News]


  • Do what the ancient bitter secretary says at all times, even when she is blatantly wrong or you are in for a week of passive aggressive complaining and muttering.

  • Dont be late or miss a meeting appointment with the head of HR otherwise your manager will come down on you like a tonne of bricks because she’s decided to go a complain to him about it.

  • When the managing director suddenly decides to change things, just gently delay and redirect her for a little while. Tomorrow she’ll have forgotten she ever requested such a thing and will want you to change it back.

    Do not try this on anybody else in the management team.

  • Some form of pant is required. Be it trousers, shorts, dress or skirt, that’s ok, but underwear on it’s own is frowned upon (before 6:30pm anyway).

    • I learnt this the hard way. All of my students in my class complained and suddenly I’m in a meeting with the principal..

  • Friday is good for 2 things – Casual dress code, and raiding the alcohol fridge (paid for by the company) is deemed acceptable after 4p.m.

    honorable mention – on any given day, if you go out for a work lunch and you happen to be out past 3pm – there is no need to actually come back to the office.

    honorable past mention – if you go out on the piss during a week night with work colleagues – you’re expected to be at your desk at 9am the next day – even if you are asleep/passed out under it.
    (actually happened, and a photo got sent around to the all staff email – to which the Managing Director replied – ‘Good to see the [insert company name] culture is still alive and kicking’)

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