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As businesses go digital and the workers go remote, office etiquette has taken a step back. Many of us have felt more comfortable showing up to meetings with only a blazer or a nice top. We might not feel so concerned about napping or picking our noses. Many workers think that being formal isn’t necessary.
Let’s break down exactly how to be professional at work. As a worker, your attitude and behavior reflect that of your office and your job. Any line of work deserves proper respect because it always answers a need. You should also treat your work well because it’s where you earn money and make an honest living. In short, being professional means treating your job and company with respect.
How you do it can vary in different professions and organizations. Some like to stay personable and tight-knit. Others prefer to be cordial and keep things strictly business-like. In either case, there are certain habits you must follow and avoid. For example, it’s impolite to interrupt someone without asking first.
Regardless of where you work, talking over somebody else is not fair. By asking nicely, you establish yourself as someone who respects their peers. You also set an example for newer recruits and colleagues on how you treat other team members.
As I clarified earlier, it;s a matter of respect and responsibility to know how to be professional at work. What you may not know is that it can also boost your business. Here are four ways that behaving properly at work can yield excellent results and benefits.
When you act professionally with your other colleagues, you establish trust. Imagine meeting someone who constantly talks over you and ignores your advice. You’d grow to hate and lose faith in that person.
Imagine meeting someone who pays attention and asks when they want to speak up. You’d grow to trust that person with your job, from asking for advice to asking for assistance. That kind of trust also reflects on your clients. The more you treat them well, the more likely they’ll want to come back and ask for your help. It’s the golden rule of business: treat others as you wish to be treated.
When you examine workplaces with well-behaved members, you’ll find they have more job satisfaction overall. A survey by the Society of Human Resource Management showed that 88% of workers were happy with their jobs. Most of them rated respectful treatment of all members as the main reason for their satisfaction.
As you can see, treating your colleagues with respect can affect their mindset. If they are happier and more important at work, they’re more likely to stay. If you want to learn how to be professional at work, you have to earn and share respect to others.
Aside from helping workers feel happier, role modeling is another important reason to treat your colleagues. Psychologists say that it plays a significant role in a child’s formative years. A famous example is the “Bobo doll” experiment, where children observed an adult beating up a doll. When presented with the same doll afterward, the children immediately beat it up too.
Studies from the University of Florida and the University of Nevada soon examined role modeling at work. They found that new supervisors would be more accepting of toxic behaviors in the office if the manager or senior were already doing them.
Given the power of role modeling from a negative aspect, we can shift this idea and be a better influence on our colleagues. Inspiring them with acts of kindness, such as praising their work and giving them advice, will help them carry this attitude to other members. With enough time, your good deeds could create a positive chain reaction. It will not only helps you learn how to be professional at work, it also makes your team members more friendly and productive.
Last but not least is the power of leadership. People who conduct themselves professionally can have a strong influence on their colleagues. It’s the main reason why many good role models become leaders. Their behavior is a good stepping stone to advise teammates and point them in the right direction.
Leadership also requires trust, which helps when you know your manager or head is reliable. With a good leader, the office can focus on any task and find faster, more efficient ways to do the required job. In short, acting professional is a requirement in any good leader, especially in the office.
Now that I’ve illustrated how being a professional at work helps your business, it’s time to outline how you can do so. Here are nine simple tips that anyone can do. Remember that these are all habits you can use in your daily life. While they help inside the office, they can also significantly influence your personal life. The nine tips are:
Looking formal and appropriate is an effective way to embody how to be professional at work. The way you dress for work sets the tone for how others should perceive you. Anyone in a well-kept uniform and a confident stance always deserves recognition. Whether you’re a janitor or a board member, dressing appropriately is always a must. Always plan out your clothes the day before work starts to make it easier. It’ll help the wardrobe change go faster. You can go further and spend some time ironing your suit and brushing your blazer.
In 2012, a York College of Pennsylvania study revealed that over 80% of new hires excessively used social media at work. That kind of behavior is both unfair and uncooperative. Your workplace is where you should dedicate your time and focus to doing the tasks required. If you spend time texting others or tweeting instead, you’re not setting a good example in the office.
To avoid the habit, learn to silence your phone and log off social media for the day. Silencing any notifications or alarms will keep your phone from distracting your colleagues. If you work on social media professionally, stick to the account your company has assigned. You can deal with your feed and timeline after work. It’s how to be professional at work while staying focused on your tasks.
Speaking to your teammates is an excellent way to establish trust and stay professional at work. Being polite is the most straightforward step forward. Always address them adequately and avoid first names unless they are okay with it. Make sure you always remember to say thanks and goodbye properly.
Also, avoid getting too personal with your topics. That means refusing to get into any workplace gossip and talking about taboos. Remember, there is a time and place for everything, especially at work.
Being on time is a skill that many people neglect nowadays. While you can have valid reasons for the delay, consistently being late by several minutes is never good. You have to be considerate of the people who spent their time meeting you. Arriving exactly when expected is how you can be professional at work. By completing your obligations on time, you show respect for their schedules and their requests.
Rest time during work is valuable. Everyone needs to relax their bodies and mind for a few minutes or a week-long vacation. In either sense, it’s not fair to interrupt someone resting. This is especially true if you are asking for their help at work. If you need to do so, ask them politely and explain why you need their help. Otherwise, take your time and let them recharge before you broach the question.
Your body language can be a subtle sign for those paying attention. Putting your hands in your pockets will make you look lazy. Other examples include crossing your arms, tapping your feet, and scowling. These expressions can make you feel unfriendly.
If you’re speaking to someone you’re comfortable with, ensure that your body language doesn’t come off offensively. Ask that person if it’s okay to relax if necessary. Be on your best behavior if you’re speaking to a superior or team leader. They are in charge, and you should give due respect to their authority. If you feel stiff about your movements, don’t worry. Once you routinely practice how to be professional at work, being relaxed and composed won’t be so tiring.
Your desk should be a reflection of your mentality at work. If it’s cluttered, then your mind will be messy and disorganized. Imagine your supervisor asks for your report. The last thing you want is to delay their time by sifting through so much paperwork to find it. Keep your desk safe by organizing all items and throwing any junk. You can buy desk organizers to set aside your pens, notepads, and papers. You can also bring personal items, like pictures or coffee mugs, as long as they are approved.
If you want to know how to be professional at work, you have to recognize your team members. They work as much as you do, regardless of which task they focus on. If they do a good job, take the time to walk over and congratulate them. If they need your help, lend a hand when you can. You show them proper respect by showing your willingness to work alongside them. This also means they will treat you with the same politeness when it’s your turn.
Asking for help is never a bad thing at work. Some colleagues’ most prominent issue is when they feel they can fix something alone. Sometimes, you need a second opinion or a hand to assist you. Don’t hesitate to ask your supervisor or team members if you get stuck. If you feel sick, alert your team leader so that you can rest and go home. You wouldn’t want to share your illness with other teammates in the office.
Knowing how to be professional at work is a sorely needed trait in today’s world, especially with the rise of remote workspaces and offices. By acting as a professional, you can become an influential figure at work and help build trust amongst your colleagues. Following office etiquette can be easy, thanks to these nine simple tricks at work. Examples include dressing appropriately and being punctual during all engagements. Once you follow these guidelines, you can become a respected and essential part of the team and the company.
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