Recently, small as well as large companies have adopted a more relaxed startup culture. Cubicles in offices have been replaced with an open floor plan. Typical office furniture has been replaced by bean bag chairs, nap pods and game tables. Suits and ties were changed to T-shirts and jeans. The popularity of remote work is increasing. Such a work environment may cause the feeling that business etiquette rules are outdated and unnecessary. This feeling is misleading as many companies still follow implicit rules of conduct. 5 of these rules will be discussed below.
1. Be on time. Whether it is arrival to work, a meeting or a deadline, punctuality is a must. If you miss a deadline, the work of the whole team is affected and some colleagues might need to cover for you. You can easily underestimate how much time you need to complete a project if you do not track your work regularly. Punctuality matters because when you are late, you are being disrespectful and inconsiderate of other people’s time and work commitments. If you are running behind the schedule, inform your colleagues as soon as possible so they can adjust their work accordingly.
2. Be professional. Professionalism includes a variety of behaviours. Here are the most standard:
- Keeping your promises. When you make a commitment, make sure to keep it. If you cannot, give the other person enough notice.
- Being punctual. Always try to show up on time.
- Remaining calm. Stay cool even in heated situations.
- Being flexible. Accept that sometimes you have to stay late, show up early, change your plans, reschedule meetings and more.
- Being diplomatic. Most likely, you will have to work with people you do not like. Still, be kind and amiable.
- Accepting constructive criticism. You will hear feedback on your work throughout your career. Use it as an opportunity to improve.
3. Dress appropriately. Wearing the right clothes is subjective, and depends on whether you work in an office or from home. Those companies that work mostly in the office tend to favour a business casual dress code because there is a lot of interaction with stakeholders and clients. Companies that work in a hybrid environment might favour a casual dress code to promote comfort and productivity. If you are unsure how to dress at work, ask your manager / supervisor for advice or simply observe your colleagues.
4. Introduce others. Having strong introduction skills might bring more opportunities for your professional growth. It helps build relationships with your colleagues and widens your network. This skill is important whenever you are meeting new people, for example, during a networking session. Getting to know others might be overwhelming. You can use it as an opportunity to introduce them around. What matters in introduction is the current social situation you are in. Pay attention to a person’s seniority and status. Introduce others with more than just their names, and include some professional or other details. Your introduction should be brief and within the context of the conversation.
5. Be respectful. Showing respect to others makes you pleasant to work with, and shows politeness. Try to keep your tone of voice as neutral as possible in a work environment. It is disrespectful to raise your voice, use bad language or interrupt others when they are speaking. Never criticize another country’s infrastructure or bureaucracy. Even if your clients agree with you to some extent, they will not appreciate your remarks. All complaints should be kept to a minimum. Otherwise, they could be considered bad manners. Respect is also important outside the office, especially when you are entertaining a client at a restaurant or other venue. It is good to establish a relaxed rapport with clients, but you must remember to remain professional.