Office Do's and Don'ts: The Workplace Etiquette Quiz



By: Staff

4 Min Quiz

Image: refer to hsw

About This Quiz

If you've been in the working world for a while, you might think you have office etiquette down pat. But maybe you should take this quiz to make sure you're not unwittingly offending everyone.

True or false: You should avoid taking sick days at all costs.

Of course you want to keep sick days to a minimum, but it's much worse to infect everyone else by coming to the office sick.


You discover a packet of microwave butter popcorn in your pantry at home. What do you do?

There's not too much that will inspire the enmity of your co-workers more than a stinky bag of popcorn in the office kitchen.


You're leading a meeting for your small team of five people. Where should you have it?

Even though your team has only a few people, book a conference room to avoid making too much noise at your cubicle.


You've just been introduced to the new receptionist at your office. Do you shake his hand?

Of course you should shake his hand! Show respect to everyone, even if you're a bigwig and he's entry level.


If you're sitting at your desk when the introduction is made, what should you do?

Always stand (if you can) when meeting someone.


Who makes the first move on the handshake?

The person who's higher-ranking or has been at the office longer is the handshake initiator.


Your husband just gave you an expensive bottle of perfume for your birthday. Do you wear it to work?

Whatever you do, use a light hand with the perfume spritzer.


Your wife just gave you an expensive bottle of cologne for your birthday. Do you wear it to work?

Same goes for cologne — if you feel the need for fragrance, don't douse it.


It's almost 5 p.m. on Friday, and you need to refresh your hair and makeup before happy hour. Where do you go?

It's perfectly fine to do your hair and makeup in the office restroom — just don't break out the cosmetics at your desk, even if it'll save you a few minutes.


What time should you get to work in the morning?

Right on time will suffice, of course, but a few minutes early is even better.


When should you leave in the evening?

Your habit of leaving at 5 on the dot will quickly become well-known. There's no harm in staying just a few minutes later every day.


When pondering what to wear to work, it's never a bad idea to follow your boss' lead.

Unless your boss dresses totally inappropriately, definitely follow his or her lead in the wardrobe department.


Your daughter is selling Girl Scout cookies. Should you pass an order form around the office?

Most people don't mind the chance to buy Girl Scout cookies, but check first with your higher-ups to see if it's allowed. And definitely don't give the hard sell.


What tone should you use when sending an email to the whole office?

Business emails should be as formal and businesslike as possible. Fully spell out words and use proper capitalization.


Are emojis ever appropriate?

Please, no! There might not be a faster way to lose the respect of your coworkers.


Can you wear flip-flops on casual Friday?

Flip-flops would probably be a no-go at most offices, but don't try it yourself until you've seen multiple people wearing them.


Is there ever any excuse for not cleaning up after yourself in the office kitchen?

Unless you are suddenly physically incapacitated when you need to start cleaning up, no, there's no excuse.


You're out at a lunch meeting and are dying for a beer. Should you order one?

If everyone else in the meeting has a beer, go for it, but in general, midday work functions should be nonalcoholic. (Tell that to Don Draper.)


You have a conference call at 10 a.m. When should you call in?

Are you noticing a trend, here? Yes, call in a few minutes early. You might have to wait on hold for a bit, but at least you won't be the one beeping in when things have just gotten started.


You don't have much to do on this particular conference call except listen. What's one important thing you should do?

Sure, you could try to contribute something, but if there's truly nothing to do but listen, put your phone on mute. That way no one will hear you breathing, eating, mouse-clicking or whatever you're doing.


If you do suddenly feel the need to interject with a pertinent point, what should you do first?

You need to say your name before you suddenly start talking so people know who the new voice belongs to.


Should you take your dog for a walk during the call?

Seriously? No, do not take your dog for a walk, do dishes or do any other distracting activities. If you suddenly have to unmute your phone, you don't want it to be glaringly obvious that you are not sitting in a quiet room.


What's one thing you should do beforehand if you're the leader of the conference call?

There's nothing worse than a meandering, aimless conference call. Email an agenda and stick to it.


You're reheating some leftovers in the office microwave and suddenly realize that you need to make a call. What should you NOT do?

Neither of the appropriate answers involves leaving the food in the microwave, even for a few minutes.


You accidentally put your leftovers in the microwave for 30 minutes instead of 30 seconds, and it's a bad scene in there. What do you do?

Not only did your food make a mess, but leaving it unattended for 30 minutes during the lunch rush was another terrible no-no. Cleaning it up is the least you can do!


You just got the new Beyonce album and cannot wait to listen to it all day at work. Good idea?

Unless you work in an extremely odd office, all-day Beyonce blasting from your cube will not go over well. Grab some headphones.


You've been totally swamped all day and realize at 4:45 p.m. that you never replied to an urgent email. What do you do?

If you don't have all night to give the email the full response it warrants, at least write a quick reply and let them know you'll be on it in the morning.


Gmail is down and you really want to email your sister about something. Should you use your work email account?

It's definitely better to be safe than sorry with personal emails. You never know who's monitoring what, so leave your work account strictly for work.


Where should you engage in workplace gossip?

The answer is technically "never," but let's be realistic. Just try to keep it as far from the office as possible.


At a business lunch, should you pull a chair out for your female coworker?

You might think it's a polite gesture, but it could be seen as condescending.


Explore More Quizzes

About HowStuffWorks Play

How much do you know about dinosaurs? What is an octane rating? And how do you use a proper noun? Lucky for you, HowStuffWorks Play is here to help. Our award-winning website offers reliable, easy-to-understand explanations about how the world works. From fun quizzes that bring joy to your day, to compelling photography and fascinating lists, HowStuffWorks Play offers something for everyone. Sometimes we explain how stuff works, other times, we ask you, but we’re always exploring in the name of fun! Because learning is fun, so stick with us!