Manners Matter: Canadian Managers, Employees Sound off About Workplace Etiquette

Bosses say being late to meetings is the biggest etiquette breach; employees say it’s office gossip.

  • 36 per cent of workers say being courteous can accelerate career advancement; 65 per cent of managers say it helps somewhat, but skills play a bigger role
  • 56 per cent of employees say civility declines as people climb the corporate ladder; managers disagree


Toronto, ON — Canadian workers may want to consider being a little more courteous at the office. Senior managers surveyed by staffing firm Accountemps said the most common breaches of business etiquette committed by staff and coworkers include running late to or missing meetings (25 per cent), being distracted during meetings including checking their phones or writing emails (23 per cent) and gossiping about others in the office (14 per cent).


A corresponding survey of workers found slightly different results, with respondents citing talking about colleagues as the most common offence (26 per cent), followed by being distracted during meetings (15 per cent) and not responding to work communications in a timely fashion (12 per cent).


“Employees need to be aware of the impact their behaviour at work can have on their reputation and career prospects,” said David King, Canadian president of Accountemps. “Being responsive and considerate of others not only underscores a person’s reliability and professionalism, it can also can set them apart for future growth or advancement opportunities.”


Research findings also showed being courteous to coworkers can impact career success. More than a third (36 per cent) of workers said it can accelerate advancement, and 65 per cent of managers said it has somewhat of an impact, but an employee’s skills remain most important. When it comes to courtesy and moving up the corporate ladder more than half (56 per cent) of workers said professionals become less courteous as they advance, while 55 per cent of managers said they noticed no difference.


“Respect is reciprocal,” added King. “Regardless of seniority, consider how you want to be treated and extend that same courtesy to those around you. Being attentive and polite can go a long way toward creating a more enjoyable, collaborative work environment.”


About the Research

Accountemps worked with independent research firms to survey two populations: professionals and managers. Survey results are based on responses from more than 400 Canadian workers 18 years of age or older and employed in office environments, and more than 300 senior managers at Canadian companies with 20 or more employees.


About Accountemps

Accountemps, a Robert Half company, is the world’s first and largest specialized staffing service for temporary accounting, finance and bookkeeping professionals. The staffing firm has more than 300 locations worldwide. More resources, including job search services and the company's blog, can be found at