Lesson 8: Workplace Etiquette
Name(s) of student(s):
Age and grade level:
Goal from IEP connected to lesson:
Objective from IEP connected to lesson:
Purpose of lesson: Determine proper etiquette for possible work experiences.
Materials needed: Internet search engine
“You have prepared a personal data sheet and are ready to begin filling out job applications. Before beginning the application process, let’s discuss proper workplace etiquette.”
Discussion: Why Workplace Etiquette is Important
Facilitate lesson with a motivating discussion such as, “Suppose you are working in a cubicle, which is one of many small workspaces next to one another. A cubicle has boundaries, but is not fully blocked off from adjacent cubicles. The employee on your right is playing music quite loudly and you can’t concentrate on your work. How would you feel? Can you think of additional co-worker behavior that might frustrate you?”
Talk about how, in every workplace, for volunteers, interns, and salaried employees, there are social expectations and courtesies that are critical to be aware of in order to be successful. Being mindful of your fellow employees and how your behavior might help or hinder their work is an important element of workplace etiquette.
Ask students how respect is given to parents, teachers, and peers. Ask students if they think this would be different with coworkers and bosses? If so, how?
Present additional examples such as: following a supervisor’s instructions, allowing personal space (approximately one arm-length distance), tidying up, not eating smelly food for lunch in a busy or small, shared office, respecting privacy, showing interest in people and the job, following dress code, etc.
Emphasize the value of an employee who demonstrates a proper balance of assertiveness and flexibility. It’s good to take initiative and passionately pursue goals, unless it is done at the expense of others (e.g., dismissing others’ goals or ideas, etc.). The workplace is not a “one man show” and an employee who is humble, thankful, encouraging of others, and willing to compromise will generally be well respected and appreciated.
Present examples of work-related situations that require consideration of etiquette and professional behavior. Brainstorm solutions with students. Examples:
- Your coworker wants to talk to you constantly and you can’t get any work done.
- You really want to update your Facebook status while at work.
- You work more efficiently while listening to music, but your coworker has told you it bothers him.
- You are exhausted and practically falling asleep in a meeting.
- A customer is frustrated that your store is out of her favorite brand of shampoo and is not being nice about it.
- You forgot to request this Saturday off from work and it’s your girlfriend’s birthday party.
Discussion: Self-Awareness about Your Personality
Ask students to describe their personalities and how they relate to others. Someone with a dominant personality might think about how he or she will benefit from practice listening and encouraging others in a workplace. Someone with a naturally passive or soft-spoken personality will benefit from confidence and idea-sharing in the workplace.
Exercise: Research Workplace and Job Etiquette
Have students research basic workplace etiquette and any etiquette specific to their desired job(s) by using an online search engine, asking a CareerConnect mentor, and/or inquiring of any personal contacts.
“Today we determined proper etiquette for possible work experiences and next time we will examine proper attire.”
Progress notes, data collection, comments, modifications:
Next steps/lesson: Proper attire for work experience.