Oh behave! How to act in the workplace

So you landed that great internship or graduate job. Congratulations!  Now, do you feel ready to start your new life in the professional world of work?

One of the toughest parts of entering the workplace for many graduates is the change in social norms. How you dress, behave and interact with others can be very different in a professional environment than in university. Because of this QM Careers & Enterprise Centre has created an online training module called ‘Transitioning into the Workplace’ based on feedback from actual employers and graduates. This post gives you a sneak peak at our section on ‘office etiquette’.

Top tips on office behaviour

Although some of our top tips on workplace behaviour seem painfully obvious, these have been flagged up by the employers themselves as some of the biggest office sins committed by grads. Take note…

  1. Always turn up to your job or to meetings on time.
  2. ­­­­­­Always say ‘thank you’ to those who help you.
  3. Show respect to everyone in the organisation, from the receptionist to the CEO.
  4. Dress professionally- wear appropriate clothing for your office environment. Take a cue from your colleagues or ask your mentor/line manager regarding the office dress code. If you are not sure before you start, play it safe.
  5. Get a good night’s sleep the night before work and eat breakfast. This generally makes you much more productive when you get to the office.
  6. Don’t play on your phone or text too much.
  7. Turn your phone off or on silent during meetings.
  8. Don’t raise your voice or act emotionally when you are not happy with something- try to accept stressful situations and criticism in a calm and professional manner.
  9. Don’t lie to your boss or colleagues about the status of a project.
  10. Don’t make offensive comments or jokes, verbally or particularly in emails.
  11. Avoid negative social media updates about your workplace, work-related issues or your colleagues. Even if you think your security settings are solid things have a habit of getting out.
  12. Never put anything into writing that you wouldn’t want a client to read.
  13. Avoid over-sharing intimate details about your personal life with your colleagues, especially when you are just getting to know them.
  14. Avoid over-drinking or behaving inappropriately at work social situations like after work drinks, meals, etc. Even if you are not in the office environment, it is still important to think of the consequences of your actions.

If you would like to go through the ‘Transitioning into the Workplace’ module in full, email Lindsey Shirah at l.shirah@qmul.ac.uk.

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