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Why companies are investing in etiquette training for their employees

Image Credits: UnsplashImage Credits: Unsplash
  • Companies are investing in etiquette training to address overly casual dress codes and ensure professional appearance.
  • Training focuses on enhancing polite conversation, professional email writing, and virtual communication skills.
  • Etiquette training benefits employees of all ages, fostering a respectful and collaborative work environment.

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly altered the way we work, leading to a surge in remote and hybrid work environments. As employees return to the office, many companies are finding that professional conduct and interpersonal skills have taken a hit. To address these challenges, a growing number of firms are offering etiquette classes to their employees.

The shift from remote work back to in-person settings has revealed some unexpected challenges. Employees who have grown accustomed to the relaxed norms of working from home are struggling to adapt to the more formal office environment. This has led to issues such as inappropriate dress codes, poor communication skills, and a general decline in professional behavior.

According to a survey by ResumeBuilder, 45% of companies currently offer office etiquette training, and another 18% plan to implement it by 2024. The reasons for this investment vary, but common themes include the need to address overly casual attire, improve polite conversation skills, and ensure professional email etiquette.

Addressing the Casualization of Workwear

One of the most noticeable changes has been in how employees dress. The casual dress code that became the norm during remote work has carried over into the office, sometimes crossing the line into unprofessionalism. As one business leader noted, "Some staff started wearing 'very casual' clothes to work that were just not professional in appearance" .

Improving Communication and Interpersonal Skills

Another significant issue is the decline in effective communication and interpersonal skills. Employees are finding it challenging to make polite conversation, avoid inappropriate topics like politics or religion, and write professional emails. This has led to a rise in complaints about unprofessional behavior and a hostile work environment.

Mike Chappell, Co-Founder and CEO of FormsPal, emphasized the importance of etiquette training, stating, "In our view, office etiquette training is vital, not only for newbies but for everyone on the team. It fosters a respectful, collaborative work environment".

The Role of Etiquette Training in a Hybrid Work Environment

The hybrid work model presents unique challenges that etiquette training can help address. Virtual communication skills, such as managing video call fatigue and being mindful of time zones, have become crucial. As Chappell noted, "Virtual etiquette – like being mindful of time zones, managing video call fatigue, and effective online communication – became crucial".

Benefits of Etiquette Training for All Employees

While Gen Z employees, who started their careers during the pandemic, are often seen as the primary beneficiaries of etiquette training, the need extends to all age groups. Young Pham, Co-Founder and financial advisor at Bizreport, explained, "We quickly realized that office etiquette training is beneficial for all employees, regardless of experience level or position".

Creating a Harmonious and Productive Work Environment

Investing in etiquette training is a strategic move to ensure a harmonious and productive work environment. Studies have shown that minor breaches of office etiquette can negatively impact the health and productivity of up to 75% of workers. By addressing these issues, companies can foster a more respectful and collaborative atmosphere.

As business etiquette trainer Kate Zabriskie put it, "We’re all coming back together. We want to make sure we have a shared agreement about what’s acceptable and what’s not acceptable in the workplace".

The return to in-person and hybrid work environments has highlighted the need for renewed focus on professional conduct and interpersonal skills. By investing in etiquette training, companies are taking proactive steps to address these challenges and create a more respectful and productive workplace for all employees.

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