Should We Be Teaching Workplace Etiquette in Schools? by Amanda Winstead

Workplace Etiquette
Image Source: Pixabay

Should We Be Teaching Workplace Etiquette in Schools? by Amanda Winstead – This post explains why your school should look for a place to add workplace etiquette to the curriculum. It certainly is time to help teens get their first jobs and to help them understand how to behave once they hit the real world of work.


  • Young people often start working part-time jobs in high school, and it’s surprising how few of them understand basic workplace etiquette. Everything from dressing appropriately to having a sarcastic attitude can be a problem for young workers. We can’t blame teens — many times they simply aren’t taught the basics of how to communicate or behave at work. Getting a new job can be overwhelming and confusing, and it’s hard to know who to talk to and how to ask questions.
  • We can give teenagers a leg up by teaching workplace etiquette in school. It can be a unit in a life skills class or part of a homeroom curriculum. There are significant advantages to making sure every teen understands how the world of work operates.

Here are just a few reasons to teach these essential skills at school.

  • Teens Gain Better Access to Opportunities: Not every young person has skilled working parents at home to use as role models. Also, because teens work in a variety of jobs, the coaching and mentoring they receive are uneven. When we provide workplace etiquette as part of the school curriculum for every young person, we help level the playing field and give equal access to opportunities.
  • Some young people have parents with the time, money, and skills to give them a great foundation in what constitutes good work. However, for the rest of the teens, it’s only fair that they are given a chance to do well in the working world by learning the basics in school.

Young People Will Have Better Work Experiences

  • There’s no drag like someone who hates their job and complains about it constantly. One thing that can help our young people avoid becoming that way is to help them learn the ropes about how workplaces operate at an early age.
  • It starts with knowing how to get a job. A surprising number of students have no idea what a resume is or what to include in one. Having a strong resume and excellent interview skills will help them get a great job right away and give them the confidence to go for bigger opportunities in the future.
  • When they know what to expect once they get the job, they won’t feel frustrated by the requests from the boss. They will be less likely to slack off or absorb bad habits from coworkers. Most importantly, they’ll have a foundation in how to communicate with their bosses about concerns. This will give them the confidence to ask for direction, offer additional help, and resolve issues.
  • When young people have good work experiences upfront, it helps them be more willing to work hard and do well in their jobs throughout their lives.

Understanding Workplace Etiquette Can Prevent Abuse

  • Young people are at a significant disadvantage at work, especially if it’s one of their first jobs. If they haven’t been taught anything about workplace etiquette, they might assume that everything that happens to them is normal and okay, even if it’s hurtful.
  • Discrimination, hostility, and bullying happen in workplaces all over the nation. Fortunately, harassment is illegal and a young person has rights. When they’re educated about the workplace, they know those rights and can properly report what’s going on.
  • At the same time, young people are less likely to engage in these behaviors at work if they’re aware of workplace etiquette. They are less likely to become bullies or join a crowd that picks on someone if they realize it’s inappropriate and may lead to legal action.
  • Teens who know their rights are also less likely to be taken advantage of by managers who demand unsafe work, pay lower-than-promised wages, or underpay tips.

Learning the Basics Early Helps in Every Job Throughout Life

  • If young people learn at school how to behave well at work, the little bad habits that become ingrained in their adult lives can be prevented. Adults complain about a variety of obnoxious behaviors from coworkers, from body odor to swearing to bragging.
  • A student who knows how to clean up for work, speak professionally, and mind the unspoken rules of the workplace (like not eating smelly food) is set up for success well beyond the teen years. They will have a better chance to impress bosses, win promotions, and build strong relationships with coworkers.
  • Today’s young people are tomorrow’s leaders, and they need the skills to face the challenges of an ever-changing workplace and world market. When they have a solid foundation as a youth, they’re positioned for success.

We All Had to Learn Somewhere

  • Today’s young people are largely preparing for jobs that don’t even exist yet. That’s why they need to know the basics today. In our first few jobs, many of us learned how to respect a schedule, call in advance if we were ill, and more. But, unfortunately, not everyone learns these lessons, as complaints in adult workplaces reveal.
  • People of any age who don’t know workplace etiquette will have hard times building relationships, impressing the boss to win promotions, and often even holding a job at all. It’s not fair to young people that, through no fault of their own, they don’t have the examples they need to be successful.
  • When we teach workplace etiquette in schools, everyone gets an equal chance no matter what their life outside of class is like. We all have to learn the basics somewhere. Why not in school, where everyone has an equal shot?

Amanda Winstead

  • Amanda is a freelance writer out of Portland focusing on many topics including educational technology. Along with writing she enjoys traveling, reading, working out, and going to concerts. If you want to follow her writing journey, or even just say hi you can find her on Twitter.
Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter Share this page via Google Plus     If you like the summary, buy the book