Nearly Half of Companies Offering Etiquette Classes to Employees Post-Pandemic
As the world continues to grapple with the effects of the pandemic, companies are finding that many employees who have been working remotely for years have lost touch with the norms and expectations of office behavior. From dressing appropriately to engaging in professional conversation, a significant number of employees seem to have forgotten the basics. As a result, about 45% of companies are now offering etiquette classes to their workers, with another 18% planning to follow suit by year-end, according to a recent survey by ResumeBuilder that polled over 1,000 leaders.
These classes cover a wide range of topics, including professional attire, proper email communication, and how to handle constructive criticism. They also touch on more nuanced aspects like avoiding sensitive topics in the workplace and taking appropriate lunch breaks. While these might seem like common sense to seasoned employees, the pandemic has blurred the lines so much that many need a refresher. Additionally, Gen Z employees who started their careers during the pandemic may not be familiar with office professionalism.
However, these classes aren’t just about physical office etiquette. As remote and hybrid work models continue to dominate, companies are also focusing on virtual etiquette. This includes being considerate of different time zones, managing video call fatigue, and communicating effectively online. One such example is how to choose the best standing desk for a comfortable and productive remote working environment.
According to ResumeBuilder, most leaders who have implemented these classes find them highly effective. Young Pham, co-founder of media company Bizreport, initially offered training only to new hires but quickly realized that office etiquette training is beneficial for all employees, regardless of experience level or position.
Interestingly, about 60% of the leaders offering etiquette classes have made them mandatory for all workers, including those who spent decades in traditional office settings before the pandemic. Among this group, 54% specifically require them for Gen Z workers. The younger an employee is, the more likely they need help developing soft skills due to limited in-person work experiences.
Big Four consulting firms such as Deloitte, KPMG, and PwC offer specialized training tailored for Gen Z workers. Stacie Haller, ResumeBuilder’s chief career advisor, notes that Gen Z often gets criticized for a lack of professionalism, which translates to not having the necessary ‘soft skills’ for effective work. She believes these classes should be seen as supportive rather than punitive.
Jon Holt, CEO of KPMG U.K., agrees. He told Fortune’s Paolo Confino that he admires Gen Z’s resilience and believes it’s crucial for businesses to support them as they start their careers. This includes providing additional courses to help them develop soft skills. KPMG U.K.’s incoming campus hires receive lessons on essential skills like teamwork, giving presentations, and effective face-to-face communication.
However, the fact that most companies offer classes for all workers implies that even seasoned employees could benefit from a refresher course. As the world continues to navigate the new normal of work, these etiquette classes are helping employees adapt and thrive in both physical and virtual workspaces. Whether it’s learning how to use an electric height adjustable standing desk for better posture or understanding how to communicate effectively online, these classes are proving invaluable in today’s evolving work landscape.