Along with courses in personal finance, our education system seems to be largely lacking in a general course that teaches working Millennials about professional office etiquette. While business majors may get this information, the rest of us typically have to pick up on what’s appropriate and what’s not from our experiences.
As Millennials, we’re probably prone to a little more flack from older generations. Our older coworkers are bringing their own ideas of what today’s 20- and 30-somethings are like to the table, and we need to make sure we don’t fulfill too many of their negative stereotypes.
Unfortunately, because so many of us never learned about what’s expected from Millennials in the workplace, we’re living up to someone else’s negative expectations a little too often.
Check out these five tips on common office etiquette and rules of thumb on what’s acceptable behavior – and what’s not – in professional settings.
1. Understand Your Workplace’s Dress Code Expectations
Want to stand out as someone who has no idea what they’re doing as a working professional? Flout the general dress code guidelines or ignore them entirely.
Yes, it’s important to be true to yourself – you don’t have to conform to being a mindless drone or anything. But you do need to respect the fact that your office is a place for business. If you’re taking Casual Fridays very literally and wearing shorts and flip-flops, you might as well top that with a big flashing sign that says “my appearance is an indication that I don’t take my job all that seriously.”
It may be completely untrue, but a lot of human communication is nonverbal. Whether you like it or not, you do send signals with the way you choose to present yourself. Bear this in mind.
2. Always Be Happy to Accept More Responsibility
If you’re one of those people who will refuse to do something because it’s “not in the job description,” you’re not gonna make it far in the professional world.
That isn’t to say you have to be a total kiss-ass or anyone’s doormat. Within reason, you simply need to be enthusiastic about learning new things and accepting new work if you get the opportunity to do so – when you do, you’re adding more value to your company. Adding value will lead to professional success when done consistently.
3. Don’t Take Advantage of Workplace Perks
While your office may offer some killer benefits and sweet perks, don’t take advantage of them (even if you have a worker that does). Use them when you have a legitimate need, but don’t be greedy.
4. Mind Your Manners (Yup, They Matter)
- Say please when you make requests and thank someone if they do something for you.
- Always stand when you’re being introduced to someone new and offer a friendly handshake.
- Don’t swear at others if you get into a disagreement (and don’t raise your voice in anger, either).
- Respect common space. If you make a mess, clean it up. If it’s your lunch that explodes in the kitchen microwave, don’t just leave the grimy remains there.
- Don’t get too caught up in gossip. You don’t know who talks to who and which of your coworkers is prone to completely making sh!t up (yes, there is always someone who will be doing this. Don’t gossip and avoid being the fool who not only believes the BS, but spreads it around too).
5. Be on Time
This one is so simple, and yet so many Millennials in the workplace completely fail at being punctual to anything. Sure, it’s okay to be a few minutes late every once in a while. But to be 15 minutes late every single day? Guaranteed someone in your office is noticing your consistently late arrivals and is making note.
If you’re struggling with your schedule, you may need to make some changes. Go to sleep at a decent time and rise earlier. Save yourself time in the morning by laying out what you need the night before and bringing breakfast with you to work. Leave for the office sooner if traffic is typically bad.
Whatever it takes, just stop being late.
Track All Your Accounts With Personal CapitalPersonal Capital lets you see all of your accounts in one convenient place. Sign up now for free.
What are some tips you wish you could give Millennials in the workplace? Are any of your coworkers guilty of bad office behavior (that totally drives you nuts)?