Starting a new job can be stressful, and once you’ve gone through the interview process, things can seem a little bit easier. But you should be mindful of how you conduct yourself at work. There are some things that may not be wise to share at work, there are some things that may not be appropriate to wear, and even email etiquette is something that your co-workers may be keeping a close eye on.

Tips for the workplace include:

  • Being respectful – As obvious as this may seem, always be respectful, no matter who the person is in ranking. Watch what you say and how you say it. Don’t make insensitive or inappropriate comments.

A colleague of mine once said that she notices how people treat those less powerful than them, as that shows a lot about you.

  • Being on time/ punctual – It’s important to always be on time because that person has specifically set time aside to accommodate you, so be respectful and be punctual. If you are running late, let the person know so they aren’t waiting for you.

Some people struggle with this, I know – an ex-colleague was often late – and it was a pain to have to wait for her and waste our time.

  • Sticking to the dress code – If your job has a dress code, stick to it. If you can’t wear a crop top, ripped jeans or sneakers, then don’t try and con the system and try to be a rebel, it could land you in trouble. Personally, when I get ready for work I try to avoid wearing things that may be too casual, despite not having a really strict dress code. The unwritten rule in general should be to assess what your colleagues tend to wear and go from there.
  • Don’t gossip – This is a big no-no. You don’t know who is watching you. It’st’s always good to try and involve yourself in group work discussions, but if it starts to get personal, it would be safer not to engage.

We know how true this can be in personal life, and it is just as true at the work place. If you have a problem with someone, it is much healthier for everyone to speak to them directly.

  • Be accountable – If you make a mistake, let your superior know. They will appreciate your honesty and work ethic and know that they can rely on you to do the right thing.

I struggled with this at first, but it gets easier. It’s so much better than putting your head in the sand – and then the problem gets even bigger.

  • Don’t overshare – I think this can be a little confusing. It’s okay to share a little bit about yourself, but don’t go overboard because some people may not be as open-minded as you think.

Of course if you become close friends with colleagues – like I did – you will share with them on a different level. But we kept those relationships separate from our work personas, and it made it easier that way.

  • Social media – Social media is never truly private, so I would suggest that you watch what you post online. Do not complain about your company online either, it might come back to you! A while ago I saw on social media that there was someone called in sick to work but attended the Taylor Swift concert instead. Just recently someone who phoned in sick was seen in a photograph at a political rally on social media – and they were fired! These are extreme examples, but do go to show how what you do online is never private.

These tips are great for the workplace, and can be used in school or university – and much of it could be useful in your everyday life too.


Tell us: What other tips can you share in relation to work etiquette? 

Read more here about email etiquette.