We all know that the workplace is heading in a new direction in the 21st century – many companies are adopting more lenient policies on dress codes, hour flexibility, remote work locations and more. However, there are still rules to follow from formal policies to smart business practices that can not only get you ahead in your career, but might just save you from losing your job.
Be on time.
If you haven’t reached an agreement with your boss about flexible hours, it is a good practice to be on time, and even early, to the start of your work day and coming back from breaks. This shows that you respect your company and co-workers enough to be there when they are there. Not showing up on time consistently is a good way to have yourself permanently seen out of the building.
Similarly, stay on top of your work. Sometimes things happen out of the blue, such as a crisis that you must take care of. Most times, though, you should be getting your work turned in when you said you would. If you don’t, important presentations, meetings and other work could be suffering from your lack of commitment.
Definitely dress within the limits of your company’s dress code, but also make smart choices that aren’t listed. Some companies are very relaxed about this, but others would prefer you not to wear sleeveless tops, shorts, T-shirts with writing on them, etc. Be smart about what looks professional, and what should be saved for the weekend.
Don’t be a zombie.
Coming in with dark circles under your eyes after a night of partying or staying out late doesn’t look good to your fellow workers, especially when you’re slow to respond and need coffee before you can halfway function. Come in well-rested and ready to work, and save the late nights for your nights off.
Limit personal communication.
There are times when you might be expecting an important family phone call or are using LinkedIn to research candidates, but personal communication should be done on personal time. Getting on Facebook to check out the number of Likes your cat picture got isn’t helping company revenue.
Texting your friends or significant other on the clock kills productivity. Many companies have social media and phone use policies, so be aware of these. Even if they aren’t on the policy, the best practice is to have it put away and save social media for a break.
This is a big one. It is not only being respectful of others verbally, but how you come across in emails and the non-verbal actions you display. Make sure you don’t sound rude in emails, and never speak (or type and send) without thinking through the message and how it might come across to the reader. If you have had miscommunications in the past, it might help to have a close friend or co-worker read it before sending.
It is also important that you aren’t tapping your foot, rolling your eyes or sighing when people are speaking to you. Be very aware of your habits, and try to be attentive to others. Being negative, impatient or rude doesn’t do well for the company culture, and might not be tolerated. Go back to your childhood and remember your manners: saying please, thank you, excuse me, etc.
This also applies to gossiping and complaining – offenses that can be taken seriously by management, as they see you spreading adversity through the office. Bosses and co-workers alike would rather be around positivity and enthusiasm to boost morale and get through the work week as a team, so be the person to bring those efforts to the table.
What kind of behavioral advice do you wish you could give to new employees?