Important Things to Know When Working In Office Environments

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 30 April 2022

There are many different aspects to working in an office environment, such as frequent interactions with colleagues, email communication and shared amenities. Depending on the business operation, an office may have varying management styles that can change the workplace environment. Understanding the expectations of working in an office can help you prepare for your job and complete your responsibilities efficiently. In this article, we discuss the common aspects of office environments, examine typical office etiquette and share some tips to help you adjust to an office environment.

Aspects of working in office environments

Below, you can find the common aspects of working in office environments:

Team collaboration

One of the major aspects you can expect while working in an office environment is team collaboration. Some office spaces may encourage collaboration more than others, depending on the business' operation and industry. If you're part of a project team, you can expect to communicate and engage in team discussions regularly. It can be important to understand that most office environments may require interactions with colleagues and managers, regardless of team structures.

Related: Top 10 Tips on How to Work Collaboratively in the Workplace

Management styles

Many management styles, such as democratic, authoritative, paternalistic and autocratic styles, can influence the working environment. These management methods can determine workplace policies and procedures, which typically influence the work culture and work environment. Your experience as an office employee might vary depending on the type of management your manager implements. For example, your job responsibilities and procedures may be clear and organised in an authoritative environment, but the environment may be fast-paced.

Related: How to Deal With a Micromanager (With Helpful Tips)

Office layouts

Another aspect to consider is the office layout. Where you complete your responsibilities can have a major influence on your experience in an office. Some offices may have an open plan with minimal privacy, while other layouts may have individual cubicles that allow you to work independently. Depending on the management style of the business, you may have an assigned workstation or your station may change each day. There are benefits and negatives to most office layouts, so the style of office you enjoy can depend on your personality and career responsibilities.


Most offices have shared amenities such as kitchens, bathrooms, toilets and lounges. If you're new to office work, sharing these facilities may be a new practice for you. Your office manager typically provides a set of rules and general etiquette on the appropriate use of these amenities. To maintain your relationships with colleagues and managers, it's usually a good idea to adhere to these rules.

Typical office environment etiquette

Below, you can find the general etiquette that most employees in an office environment follow:

  • Arrive on time: Arriving to work on time is usually a good idea because it can show your colleagues and manager that you care about the job.

  • Interact with colleagues: Interacting with your colleagues can be an important part of building healthy relationships and ensuring you enjoy your time in the office.

  • Help others when necessary: Working in an office environment usually involves teamwork and helping others can foster a positive working environment.

  • Have a professional email address: If you utilise a personal email address at work, it's usually a good idea to ensure it's professional and appropriate for a working environment.

  • Dress appropriately: You represent the business when you work in an office environment, so it's usually best to dress professionally and to the standards set by the business.

  • Clean up after yourself: You may share several amenities and facilities, so after you utilise them, you can ensure you leave them in a clean state for your colleagues to use.

  • Respect your colleagues' space: You may share the office with colleagues, but it's usually common etiquette to respect your colleagues' workstations and provide them with the privacy they require.

Tips for working in an office space

Below, you can find some helpful tips to consider when working in an office environment:

Monitor your posture

You may complete most of your responsibilities in an office using computer software. This can require you to sit behind a desk for prolonged periods. It can be important to be aware of how you're sitting and ensure you're sitting at your desk with a healthy posture. The type of chair you utilise at work can make a big difference to your posture. The business typically provides chairs for its employees to use, so if they're inadequate, you might use a personal chair or discuss the possibility of a new, more ergonomic chair.

Treat colleagues with respect

You may spend most of your working hours near your colleagues in an office environment. You can regularly engage in discussions and rely on them for specific job responsibilities. For this reason, it can be important to treat your colleagues with respect and ensure you have a strong relationship with the team. If you enjoy the company of your colleagues, it can usually foster a healthy and pleasant working environment.

Related: Examples of Communication and Collaboration Skills

Focus on your time-management

Depending on your employer and the management style of the office, arriving on time can be very important. Your manager is likely to appreciate your arrival to work before the working day begins. It can show that you're organised, dedicated and care about your role within the business. Job responsibilities in an office also usually have strict deadlines. You can ensure you complete your work before the day ends by managing your time effectively.

Bring your own lunch

Bringing your own lunch to work is a subjective choice that won't necessarily affect your work productivity, but it can save you money. The cost of purchasing lunch every day can eventually add to a substantial expense. Another benefit of bringing your own lunch to work is that there may be situations where you have no time for a lunch break. If you have your lunch with you, you can have a quick break and complete your urgent responsibilities.

Ensure you have time for relaxing

Some office environments can be fast-paced, with minimal opportunities for breaks. In these environments, it can be important to create time to relax and ensure you have breaks from your duties. Having a rest from your work responsibilities can provide you with the energy to continue your tasks productively. It can also be beneficial for your working environment, as having breaks can reduce stress and promote a healthy office culture.

Have patience

Patience is an important personality trait to develop when working in an office space. You may collaborate with several team members with varying work ethics and capabilities. This means some colleagues may complete their tasks slower than you do. In some situations, you may wait for your colleague to complete their task before you can begin yours. It can be a good idea to remain patient with your team member and provide any help required to speed up the process.

Consider using headphones

In open-plan offices, there may be no walls or windows separating workstations. These offices can have the potential to generate substantial noise. If you prefer working in silence, you can consider using a pair of headphones that reduce or block noise omissions. This can help you maintain your focus and complete your responsibilities efficiently. Before you use headphones, it can be a good idea to review the workspace rules because some companies might not allow the use of headphones.

Improve your computer skills

If you're new to office work, you might develop your general knowledge of management systems and computer software. Most of your responsibilities in an office setting involve computer software, so having the fundamental skills to operate them can help you adapt to the new work environment. Businesses may use a variety of computer software, but they typically utilise one operating system. It can be a good idea to familiarise yourself with the shortcuts and general operation of the system. The business may provide you with training to operate the specific software they utilise.

Resolve interpersonal conflicts

It's usually best to avoid workplace conflicts entirely, but sometimes they're unavoidable. Resolving interpersonal conflicts can be an important part of maintaining relationships with colleagues. Interpersonal conflicts may result from simple disagreements that you can easily resolve. By resolving a conflict, you can strengthen your relationship with the colleague, improve communication and increase the effectiveness of collaboration.

Related: 5 Examples of Conflict in the Workplace (With Solutions)

Plan a reliable transport arrangement

Some offices have ample parking spaces, while others may be in the city centre with minimal parking availability. Planning how you get to work each day is an important part of managing your time. It's usually a good idea to minimise travel time between work as much as possible. This can give you more personal time and provide a relaxed environment when preparing for work.