Swearing at the office? Your culture is key

Swearing in the office is the workplace’s four-letter-word dilemma. Unwritten rules might hold sway, but erring on the side of caution is wise.

Ragan Insider Premium Content
Ragan Insider Content

Workplace taboos have changed dramatically over the years.

In the “Mad Men” era, the idea of working from home was laughable. Forget gender equity or open office plans. You were toast if you showed up a few minutes late or tried to speak openly in a meeting, but drinking and smoking while working were pervasive.

Society has changed, and so, of course, has work.

Many offices now offer flexible work arrangements—that is, unless you’re Yahoo. We champion the idea of open communications, and encourage workers to be themselves. We want them to take their unique strengths and put them to work, not all try to be the same cookie-cutter, 9-5 worker.

As with any radical change, this new work environment has encountered its share of issues. The line between what’s work-appropriate and what’s not has become increasingly blurry, and this affects a wide range of matters, from the most trivial to the most consequential.

One issue that most managers should keep in mind is quite basic: swearing in the office. As with all great debates, there are two sides to this coin.

1. Finding your own voice

To read the full story, log in.
Become a Ragan Insider member to read this article and all other archived content.
Sign up today

Already a member? Log in here.
Learn more about Ragan Insider.