In an era of relaxed corporate culture, does professionalism matter? It absolutely does.
To understand why, let’s first define professionalism: Constant and consistent behavior from an individual who maintains etiquette and ethics while performing quality work within set boundaries.
Acting Professionally at Work
In a workplace environment, how do you act professionally? Your personal life does not cease to exist when you walk through your office door in the morning. That being said, while you’re at the office, there’s very little you can do to control what’s going on outside. What you can control is how you perform while you are inside the walls of your office. Make the best of it!
Your colleagues become your family during business hours. You will spend more time with them during the workweek than anyone else, therefore you are bound to get to know some of them pretty well. When relationships grow, it can be become easier to pick on each other, all in good fun. But no one enjoys consistently being the target of everyone’s jokes. Be cautious o of the things you say and do, as everyone is different and can react differently to slight horseplay. Occasional jokes and poking fun are fine and routine, but remember you are at the office to get a job done and that should be your focus. Office time is not playtime, but rather focus on your career while advancing the growth of the company.
Structure is Important
Policies and procedures are an integral part of any business. They ensure work is done properly, accurately and in a timely manner. Adherence to your office policies help prevent mistakes and creates a better experience for everyone.
One of the best ways to be professional is to look like a professional. Look the part. You don’t have to dress like a Fortune 100 CEO but be aware of the image you present. If you dress in sweatpants and a hoodie, even in the most casual of offices, your attire will not be well received and can hinder your professional credibility.
Along with professional dress comes a clean office. This includes more than just having the floors mopped each night. Clients and visitors routinely stop in unannounced. Do you really want them walking in seeing papers on the floor and strewn about your desk? If they see your workspace in disarray, how can they possibly trust you to handle their affairs? They can’t and they won’t. Be mindful of this as your professional appearance at your desk matters.
Ethics and Accountability
The true basis of professionalism is ethics and accountability. This doesn’t mean just accountability from your peers. We’re talking about self-accountability.
This is the key – do you care enough to hold yourself accountable to do your job properly? You must hold yourself accountable to not only get the job done, but get the job done WELL.
In an era where competition is accelerating and jobs are scarce, professionalism can differentiate you from the average employee. Take the leap any chance you have to take the upper hand.
Remember, everywhere you go, everything you do, and everything you say, you are a representative of your company. Make sure you put your best foot forward… because professionalism DOES MATTER.