How to be More Professional at Work
Make sure that your colleagues and managers take you seriously with the help of our simple tips on how to behave more professionally both when remote-working and in the workplace.
Professionalism at work is essential, particularly if you want to be taken seriously, have your boss think you are an asset to the company and climb the corporate ladder.
However, what does the term 'professionalism' mean exactly? Is it enough to simply turn up for work on time, do the hours we are paid to do, and generally do a good enough job?
Or, is there a lot more expected of us if we are to be viewed as being professional at work?
Top tips on how you can be more professional at work
- Follow company policies and rules - Beyond legal compliance rules, there are a range of documents covering professional conduct at work (e.g. a company handbook, an ethics code, induction pack, disciplinary and grievance procedures). These clarify a company's expectations of it's employees and even third parties (e.g. suppliers or customers), detailing what behaviour is and isn't acceptable, and what will happen if rules are broken.
- Pay attention to 3 key areas - How you look, what you say and what you do. Comply with your firm's dress code, professional codes of conduct and its code of ethics.
- Become an asset to the people you work with - Pay attention in your department meetings and on top of company information by reading company memos. Colleagues will start to recognise you as an asset and respect your professional approach. Show you are engaged by responding appropriately - not by hitting 'reply all' on every message!
- Treat others with courtesy and respect - Be aware that your language and behaviour reflects on your company as a whole, for good or for bad. When interacting with colleagues and other stakeholders, listen to what they say, be supportive of colleagues and avoid using profanities, offensive, bullying or discriminatory language.
- Avoid office politics and gossip - Unfortunately, office politics are all too common, especially when you start to climb the corporate ladder. By removing yourself from any office gossip among your co-workers, you'll begin to establish the professional reputation you are looking for.
- Understand and follow your company's culture - Your company will have a number of fundamental principles and values which are enshrined in its corporate culture and underpin everything it does - for example, acting honestly, treating people fairly, and being open and transparent. Make sure you demonstrate these values in all your business dealings and act in your company's best interests at all times.
- Demonstrate a professional attitude - There are a number of ways that employees can show that you are a committed member of their team, including:
- Take your work seriously - be prompt and attentive, particularly in meetings!
- Stay fit for work - look after your health and wellbeing
- Be reliable - do what you say you will do, when you say you will do it
- Embrace feedback - Ask for it, if it is not given and make efforts to respond to it
- Show commitment to personal development - Actively learn new things
- Communicate professionally - Verbally, digitally and especially on social media.
- Be a responsible employee - If you have concerns or evidence that colleagues are in breach of the law or your organisation's code of conduct, tell your manager or report it via the whistleblowing channels.
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