Transitioning into the workforce from school or switching from one career to a new one can be a scary move. It’s a big step, but one that you can easily make with a few pointers. Each job has certain rules and procedures that are common knowledge, but you might not have heard them outright or saw them on your orientation agenda. So, take note of these tips to you navigate the workday without breaking the rules. Following these rules will show your employer that you want to do a good job and be an employee they can’t live without.
Don’t be late. Check and double check your work schedule and be sure you’re at work on time. Showing up late – even five or ten minutes – could earn you a negative reputation. There are some environments that are more laid back with their attendance policy, but others are sticklers about not being a minute late. Be sure you know your company’s culture and don’t assume because co-workers are late it’s OK to follow their lead. You want to set a good example so you can get ahead, not follow a bad example because that could get you in trouble.
Run errands on your own time. When you’re at work, you are there to work. Running errands on your lunch break is fine, but don’t use company time to go to the post office, grocery store, take a shopping trip to the mall, etc. The company pays you to work for them, so they expect you to work and produce results.
Avoid regular personal calls. The workplace is not the best place to spend significant time making or accepting personal phone calls. As many employees share workspace with other co-workers, make it a point to keep your personal affairs to yourself. Calling your best friend to have a casual conversation about an upcoming date is not appropriate. When you’re on company time, let friends and family know to leave you a message if they call you during the day and you will return their message when you leave for lunch or after work. If you do have to take a phone call at work, go to an area where you won’t be bothering anyone and limit the amount of time you spend on the phone. Check out more information about cell phone etiquette in the office.
Know the policy on social media. With so many people having a social media profile on a site like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Myspace, it’s easy to stay connected and see what your friends are doing during the day. Before you decide to log-in and check one of those sites while at work, be sure you know you’re company’s policy regarding social media. You never know if someone is monitoring your internet activity. If they see you logging-in to Facebook during the day, you could get reported to your manager if it’s against the rules.
Keep loud music down. If you listen to music while you work, use headphones in public or shared spaces. Listening to music can help you feel more energized and can help you eliminate distractions. Just remember to keep the volume at a reasonable level so you don’t distract or aggravate any co-workers and you can still hear someone if they call your name. If you work in a factory or shipping facility, check your safety policy on this and make sure your earphones don’t create a safety hazard. You need to be able to hear what’s going on around you.
These are just a few of the many things to be aware of when it comes to workplace behavior and how to function during the workday. Be respectful of your company’s time, money and resources by following policies on issues like attendance, work breaks, and social media. On company time, you have to follow company policy. When you have a job, it’s important to keep in mind that you should adjust your habits to fit your employer during working hours, not vice versa.