Staring? Or, a Fixed Gaze in the Workplace? – A Quick Tip

Staring? Or, a Fixed Gaze in the Workplace? – A Quick Tip
-by Phyllis Davis

Some may say etiquette is an old-fashioned way of conduct best left in the past. However, it is more important than ever as we learn to conduct ourselves in a hyperconnected world, whether we are interacting in person, via phone or Zoom calls, emails, or through various forms of technology.

Business etiquette is a unique skill set that differs from manners you might use at home, with your friends, or in groups you attend in your community (house of worship, etc.). Here is an example: research has shown that when walking in a busy street, it is appropriate in the United States to stare at someone for 1.6 seconds compared to some cultures in the Middle East, where it’s common to stare for 4.6 seconds.

Where (precisely) do you focus your stare at someone in the workplace? It may seem obvious to state, but staring at someone’s anatomy is inappropriate and could make someone anxious or self-conscious.

When you are familiar with people in the workplace, eye contact is essential and commonly used to demonstrate a warm connection between workmates. After all, if you dislike someone, you avoid eye contact with them.

Workplace staring seems to be a growing concern in the workspace, and if it is prevalent and the stare is considered a ‘fixed gaze’ over a period of time, it can be regarded as harassment.

According to, “Staring at the workplace can be extremely uncomfortable. Staring can be considered sexual harassment in a hostile work environment. Inappropriate conduct does not need to be sexual to constitute a hostile work environment based on sexual/gender harassment.”

Dress codes are stressed in many industries to remind employees to wear clothing that will not attract attention or distract workers from their tasks.

So, remember, EYES UP everyone.

If your company would like a Zoom training for an employee or an entire team with Phyllis Davis, Ethics and Etiquette Expert in American Business, please contact me and let me know how I can help you. 804-467-3752 EDT   Join me on LinkedIn 

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