The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
Guide For Proper Office Etiquette
Finishing school or university can be a pretty daunting prospect. While there’s no questioning the hard work you’ve put in up until this point, the world of everyday work is very different.
Regardless of the industry, starting an office job can feel pretty alien to begin with. For starters, it can be quite strange getting used to a 9 to 5 routine.
This isn’t just a problem for school and university leavers. In a world where many work freelance, plenty of people struggle to get to grips with this sort of routine to begin with.
You can learn more about how to cope with this life change by reading some helpful tips from The Penny Hoarder.
Another tricky thing about transitioning into an office job is understanding the unwritten rules of office culture.
The first thing any employee wants to do is make a good impression, so doing or saying something accidentally which might upset someone is definitely worth avoiding.
Thanks to a new infographic from silverdoor.co.uk you can sidestep any potential mistakes and settle into your new job comfortably.
It’s called ‘The Ultimate Guide To Office Etiquette For First Time Employees’ and you can take a look at it at the bottom of the page.
This infographic includes a number of tips and tricks, some more serious than others, perfect for someone entering the world of office work.
It covers everything from what to eat at your desk to which topics are and are not ok to bring up in the office environment.
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THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO OFFICE ETIQUETTE FOR FIRST TIME EMPLOYEES
THE FIRST JOB IN YOUR CAREER CAN BE NERVE-WRACKING, ENTERING THE PROFESSIONAL WORLD IS A DAUNTING EXPERIENCE, ESPECIALLY FOR RECENT GRADUATES.
ETIQUETTE AT UNIVERSITY AND IN THE SERVICE INDUSTRY IS COMPLETELY DIFFERENT TO THAT OF AN OFFICE ENVIRONMENT – YOU SIMPLY CAN’T GET AWAY WITH SOME OF THE THINGS YOU DID WHEN YOU WERE A STUDENT.
SO, TO PUT YOUR NERVES AT EAST, HERE’S THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO OFFICE ETIQUETTE FOR FIRST TIME EMPLOYEES.
BE MINDFUL WITH SOCIAL MEDIA
Unless using social media is a part of the your job, don’t sneakily check Facebook in the office or send Snapchats when you’re sat at your desk. Not only does it look unprofessional, it can distract you from the task at hand and affect your overall work performance.
Similarly, be mindful of what you post on your social media accounts. Your bosses could be checking up on what you’re doing and social media can be very telling, so set those Megaluf 2017 photos to private.
The widespread notion that first impressions matter is widely spread for a reason: it’s true.
When you’re first starting your new job, you should dress smart, even if the rest of the office doesn’t, but still try to blend in. If you’re wearing a suit and the rest of the office is wearing jeans, then you’ll look out of place, but a bit of extra effort won’t go a miss.
KEEP USE OF MOBILE PHONES TO A MINIMUM
As a general rule, in the office, your phone should be in your back or pocket and should be kept either off or on silent. If you’re allowed to have your phone out, any obscene or childish ringtones should be changed to something professional and inoffensive.
There’s no place for the personal use of mobile phones in meetings and if you’re regularly using your phone at work, your colleagues may start to resent you. If you absolutely must take a personal call at work, you should inform your colleagues prior to the call and excuse yourself when it comes through.
KEEP IT CLEAN
The CareerBuilder survey has shown that over half of bosses say they would be reluctant to promote someone who swears at work as it gives an unprofessional image. Although the odd four letter swear word is bound to slip out every now and again, it’s best if you keep it to a minimum because you never know who’s listening.
EMAIL ETIQUETTE IS IMPORTANT
Work-related emails should be kept as brief and professional as possible – anything additional should be sent as an attachment but be mindful of send limits on file sizes. It’s also important to always give your emails a clear subject line.
When it comes to writing email text, it’s widely considered to be inappropriate to use abbreviations such as ‘LOL’ and try to steer clear of emoticons.
WHEN IT COMES TO MAKING TEA…
Most offices allow you to drink hot drinks like tea and coffee whenever you like but be sure to ask if anyone else wants one before you make one for yourself. Also, if there are people who frequently make hot drinks, make sure that you chip in by making a few brews fore everyone here and there.
PUNCTUALITY IS KEY
Rocking up to lectures five minutes late may have been acceptable at university, but in the professional world, a 9am start time means just that. If you turn up late, even if only by a few minutes, it will rarely go unnoticed so acknowledge it and apologise to your colleagues and superiors.
Unless you have anything constructive to bring to the table, keep your grumbling and complaining about work to a minimum. It’s easy to fall into the trap of getting too comfortable in the office, but it’s supposed to be a professional and productive environment. Everyone’s going to have the odd complaint here and there about the way things are run at work, but try to save it for when you get home or you’re out with your mates.
USE YOUR INSIDE VOICE
Noise can be really disruptive in an office environment, so make sure you keep your noise levels to a limit at all times. Try not to talk too loudly when you’re on the phone or, if you’re making small talk in the office, try to keep you volume to a minimum.
SEPARATE YOUR PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL LIFE
When you’re working in an office, you need to have a filter at all times. You’re not at work to discuss how wasted you got at the weekend and blue topics of conversation may make other people in the office feel uncomfortable, so always be mindful of this. If you keep talking about inappropriate topics like nights out, relationships, or gossip, your colleagues may view you as being unprofessional which could hinder your career.
DON’T EAT SMELLY FOODS
Inflicting your food’s smell on your colleagues generally won’t be appreciated so try to steer clear of pungent foods like fish, boiled eggs, and curries in the office.
AVOID TALKING POLITICS AND RELIGION
Politics and religion are tricky topics of conversation to manoeuvre at the best of times, but they absolutely should not be brought up in conversation at work. When discussing heavy topics, you never know who in your office you may offend and, if things get heated, you’ll probably regret bringing it up in the first place.
If someone tries to involve you in a political or religious debate, try to dismiss the conversation politely as possible.
DON’T GET DRUNK ON SOCIALS
Many offices enjoy occasionally throwing staff parties or going for post-work drinks but, particularly if you’re a new member of the team, it’s important that you don’t get drunk. As a rule, try having a maximum of two drinks. Getting drunk and spilling your guts at a work social isn’t just inappropriate, it could be potentially embarrassing and you have to see these people everyday!
As a rule of thumb, you should always treat people how you’d like to be treated and this applies in the office as well. You wouldn’t like people gossiping about you, so try not to get involved in office gossip at all costs. The same applies to manners: make eye contact, learn everyone’s names, and, if you’re in a position to have to berate someone, don’t do it in front of colleagues.