Joining a new workplace at any age can be daunting! Here are 5 quick and easy workplace etiquette tips. Although simple, and seemingly straightforward, these 5 things are often forgotten or overlooked in the rush of beginning a new role. By practicing and applying these skills, you will help yourself quickly become a standout among your peers.
1. Write follow up emails
Everyone likes to be appreciated and acknowledged, so it’s safe to assume that your clients, peers, and managers will be happy to receive follow-up emails. However, workplace inboxes are constantly flooded with information and requests. Keep follow-up emails brief and to the point, even including the purpose of the email in the subject line (i.e. “Response Requested: Follow Up Action Items from Today’s Meeting.”) Let your reader know within the first sentence if a response or follow-up work is required on their end.
2. Answer the phone promptly and correctly
No doubt at some point you have fumbled through an awkward phone call, whether it was a wrong number or odd request. Keep yourself from being that person, by always answering your phone promptly and correctly. Shy away from lengthy monologues (unless required by your organization.) State your name and organization upfront and allow the caller time to respond to you. For example, “Thank you for calling Spot-On Leaders. This is Jack.”
3. Dress to impress
In the day and age of coffee shop workplaces and sit/stand desks, it can be hard to know what to wear in your new office. Don’t be afraid to ask for clarification on company dress code. Trust us, whoever hired you will want you to show up looking your best as you are a direct reflection of him or her. For some workplaces, “casual” may still mean button downs and dress shoes, while for others it may be flip flops and shorts. Never be afraid to ask your recruiter and then verify with your co-workers.
4. Small talk, in and out of the office
Small talk can be incredibly awkward or incredibly productive, depending on your outlook and approach. Whether you’re eating lunch in the break room or mingling at the office holiday party, it’s important to keep your cool and know how to keep the conversation flowing – we recommend checking out this article: “8 Questions to Ask Other Than ‘What Do You Do?’” Always remember, to keep small talk light; your counterpart may choose to share personal details or pull up family photos, but never pry or push for those kinds of details.
5. Workplace relationships
From the day you interview to the day you retire, you are in a relationship with every single co-worker, manager, customer, and vendor (whether you like it or not.) One of the most important aspects of healthy workplace relationships is learning to navigate conflict. It’s through differences of opinion and respectful critique that new ideas are able to grow and flourish. When faced with conflict, always examine yourself first and do your best to push aside biases before engaging. And always keep in mind that everyone you interact with has a life outside of the office – your co-worker’s seemingly heated response about an upcoming presentation may have nothing to do with work and everything to do with her life outside of the 9-5.
Patrick Leddin, PhD is a speaker, global leadership consultant, and The Wall Street Journal bestselling author of The Five-Week Leadership Challenge. Patrick is an Associate Professor at Vanderbilt University with a thriving leadership blog and podcast, and 25-years of leadership experience. He offers an unparalleled mix of academic rigor and real-world experience.