The expression ‘mind your Ps and Qs’ actually comes from the use of early printing presses, when printers placed each letter on a typeset to print a page of text. The letters were reversed during the process, which made it easy to mistake ‘p’ for ‘q’ and vice versa. What’s interesting is that this phrase, which has come to mean ‘mind your manners’, originated in the workplace.
In fact good etiquette is more essential at work than anywhere else, after all it’s the place you spend most of your time. The importance of the basic necessities, such as punctuality and smart attire is often overlooked and beyond these simple requirements, the office environment can produce some tricky situations that demand manners, discretion and tact.
A number one rule for all employees should be to avoid joining in with office gossip. This is perhaps easier said than done, but getting involved with office politics can damage relationships between co-workers and cause unnecessary tension.
Handling criticism from others can also be a source of tension and although it may sometimes be hard to accept, all professional criticism should be dealt with amiably and graciously.
Nothing is perhaps more important than a worker’s general demeanour in the office. Respect and courtesy should be extended to all co-workers, including support staff and those further down the ladder.
All things considered, minding your Ps and Qs is a small price to pay for a happy and productive working environment.