Appropriate Workplace Behavior

Workforce Management

When we consider appropriate workplace behaviors, it basically boils down to professionalism. Professional behavior in the workplace relies on a person’s attitude, manners, and their appearance. How they speak, how they act, and what they look like are all indicators of professionalism.

Some of the main elements of professionalism are:

Employees who behave professionally are motivated and productive. They are great to work with and are suited to leadership roles.

Many companies have official codes of conduct to combat negative behaviors that might result in a toxic work environment. Included in such a document might be regulations related to dress codes, behavior, and reporting channels for bad behavior from other employees.

We spend plenty of our daily lives at work, so many people become very comfortable in their workplace. Each workplace will have set standards for what is deemed acceptable workplace behavior and it is expected that employees adhere to these standards. When team members engage in behavior that is not acceptable, there has to be a manner to address this accordingly.

Workplace behavior has a significant influence on company culture, as well as business results and the reputation of the company. Furthermore, a reputation for undesired workplace behavior also tends to follow an individual around throughout their careers.

That being said, the actual enforcement of standards can be complicated. This is because behavioral standards are difficult to lay down in black and white and often require case-by-case flexibility. This can lead to feelings of inconsistency and confusion.

In order to maintain a positive work environment, employees are urged to focus on their own behaviors and not the behavior of their colleagues.

Don’t Bring Others Down

This is a concept that exists in many spheres of our lives. The idea underpins the importance of celebrating the success of others. When the attitude in the workplace is to bring down those who are successful, it can create a great deal of conflict and makes a positive company culture almost impossible to maintain.

Celebrating good performance for everyone builds good vibes, which makes the overall work environment more positive and more supportive, which increases productivity across the board. This also extends to helping employees feel inspired when they are struggling.

Refrain from Controversy

Due to increased digitalization, we have become desensitized to controversy, but this does not mean that we need to disregard the seriousness of controversy. Be careful what you say in public, especially about your workplace.

This also means that we need to be careful of the opinions we share with others, especially on social media. This does not only include things directly related to the workplace, but may also include other controversial topics. In some cases, for example, a new law, may result in some controversial discussions happening in the company as an official discussion as it impacts your job.

It is important to differentiate these structured and controlled discussions from gossip. One might be good to engage in, while the other one is almost always negative and harmful.

Avoid Oversharing and Over-Asking

We all forge some kind of relationship at work; this cannot be avoided when we see and engage with people so often. However, we need to be careful about what we share regarding our personal life. We also need to be careful about what kinds of questions we ask our coworkers. It is important to remember that you might be oversharing without really intending to. This can be for various reasons, from cultural nuances to personal differences. This is yet another reason to take care of what you discuss with people at work.

Do Not Engage in Gossip

While we have mentioned gossip briefly earlier, more time should be spent on the entire concept of gossip and where it fits into the workplace. Gossip becomes prominent in an organization mainly when frustrations are shared with fellow employees, or when one team member is frustrated with another. Although gossiping can bring a momentary positive release, it can have a far more negative long-term impact. Gossip is generally viewed as unreliable and untrustworthy. It leaves a lot to be desired in terms of a person’s character.

Be Inclusive

To be inclusive, we must learn to embrace differences and diversity. Generally, we will tend to have more in common with other people than we realize. When we focus more on what we have in common with our team members, inclusivity will come more naturally. People who are exposed to diversity tend to be more open-minded and creative, even in a professional setting. Inclusivity in the workplace is easy to demonstrate – all you need to do is be open, approachable, respectful, and civil.

Ways to Maintain Professional Behavior in the Workplace

Our career success and performance depend, to an extent, on our workplace behavior. Here are some professional behaviors that will ensure you make a good impression on your employers.

Be Reliable

Reliability is one of the most valuable assets a person can have in their professional arsenal. Consistent, high-quality work, being on time, doing as you are asked, planning for future contingencies, etc. These are all examples of things that will make you reliable and dependable.

Act Ethically

Workplace ethics are extremely important to uphold. They enforce company culture and are the backbone of appropriate workplace behavior. A person who maintains strong morals and understands the nuances between right and wrong can act ethically by doing the following:

  • Asking for support when needed.
  • Holding yourself accountable for your actions.
  • Keeping judgment and bias out of your professional life.
  • Reporting unethical behavior of others.
  • Understanding the company policies and rules and ensuring that you follow them.

Maintaining a habit of ethical behavior makes it more likely that you will make good decisions for your team without having to think about it too much on the spot.

Help Others

Try to help others where possible, especially new hires who might still be a bit lost. Anyone can become overwhelmed with tasks, and offering a helping hand to a fellow employee can be a great relationship-building venture. When employees support each other, the overall performance of the team increases and the entire department can benefit. Managers will undoubtedly take note when employees support their teams, and it is considered a good indication of suitability for leadership roles.

Avoid Social Media

It is best to avoid checking personal social media platforms at work, even when your job involves monitoring company platforms. There are certain expectations that management might have about the productivity of their employees, and this often includes what activities are undertaken during working hours. Spending time on personal social media at work is almost always frowned upon.

Take Responsibility

Those who want to be mindful of their workplace behaviors set examples of responsible actions for other employees. Someone who assumes responsibility for their actions and their results creates an atmosphere of accountability within the workplace that stands out to management. Managers will notice and appreciate an employee who acknowledges their failed ideas and their mistakes. Attempting to implement new ideas can be risky, and they will sometimes fail, but it is important to acknowledge these failures and then try and resolve them as an added bonus.

Have a Positive Attitude

Generally speaking, people get along easier with someone who is optimistic and upbeat. When employees are positive at work, it can greatly improve office morale. That being said, there are sometimes challenges at work that can influence your mood. It is important to communicate when you are struggling and to assist others when they are struggling. Showing some understanding to fellow employees makes teams closer and more productive.

Be Honest

Honesty in the workplace goes hand in hand with integrity, and this can lead to more positive relationships. Honesty makes you more trustworthy, and when employees feel they are on the same page with their team, or at least that they are understood, workplace relationships are stronger and more positive. Honesty in the workplace also means that you are expected to report dishonesty in the behavior of others.

Communicate Respectfully

Communication is an extremely important foundational element of appropriate workplace behavior. How an employee speaks and communicates is a matter of interest for most employers, as clear communication in the workplace will stand out. Using appropriate and clean language in conversations and emails at work, even when the context is casual, will be noticed and count in your favor. This is true for communication between colleagues, managers, and customers.

The tone that you use when communicating is equally important. People can easily pick up incongruence in your tone of voice and your body language, and this will make you appear untrustworthy. How you communicate, even in difficult situations where you might need to give constructive feedback, will set the tone for people’s impressions of you.

Follow the Company’s Dress Code

Dress codes can vary greatly from one company to another, and it is important that employees stick to their company’s dress code. However, even more important is that regardless of what the dress code is, you should maintain a neat and clean appearance. How you look has a significant impact on how you are perceived.

Most companies have guidelines regarding your attire, but it could also be helpful to check out your company values and bear in mind anything that might be influential in how you are to be perceived as a brand ambassador.

Arrive on Time

When it comes to professionalism, there are few things as important as punctuality. This impacts how people view your reliability and work ethic (unless you are in a country where punctuality is not central to the business environment). It is best to be a few minutes early to meetings and events, but remember not to arrive too early. Also, bear in mind that you need to stick to your lunch break time, as this ties in with punctuality.