Top 5 workplace etiquette every newbie should know

The way you present yourself in the workplace matters. Setting a professional tone is a crucial part of building new relationships and ensuring you have a positive, successful experience in the workplace. These are definitely not strict, but in many few years working as a student and now a few months working full time, I have gathered some insight.

First impression is not everything, but it is important. Studies have shown that people form impressions within the first few moments of meeting them, so do make sure to present yourself as a professional. Things like body language play an important role on how others perceive it. Stand straight, make eye contact and never forget to smile! Small things like knowing the dress code and office policies could help as well. When I went to my first interview I did not know how the official dress code was. I arrived in jeans and boots to find out everyone’s wearing simple business clothes. I am not saying you won’t get the job because you dressed poorly, but I’m saying learn from my mistakes. Better to be overdressed than underdressed.

How you treat people says a lot about you. Try and avoid gossip. We are all humans and if you find yourself frustrated over a certain situation, it is difficult not to seek a listener in a colleague. Be thoughtful about how you interact with your supervisors, peers and colleagues. Everything has a place and time to happen and the workplace isn’t one of them.

Communication plays an important role. It’s not just about what you say, but how you say it. Be mindful of the words you have chosen. In regards to email, be sure your correspondence inside and outside of your workplace is written clearly and free of spelling errors. Remember, email is a permanent record so never put anything in writing that you would say to someone’s face.

Every workplace carries a certain set of values, policies and procedures. in a smaller company, like ELA International, some of the knowledge may come from observing others and asking questions. Observing and listening will help you understand the atmosphere. You can always ask you superior if you are struggling to understand something, but make sure to choose your words wisely.

Last, but not least, make sure to remain professional. It is important to be personable, but do not forget that you are still at work. You are spending a lot of time with your colleagues, but they are still your colleagues. Sharing information about your personal life is your choice, but do be cautious to what you share. I do think adding a personal touch is important, but understand one thing: the things you talk about will be a reflection of yourself.

Spending a lot of time with your colleagues will definitely break some barriers. But always remember to be respectful and cautious on what you share. 

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