The move from school leaver to apprentice can be a big one and one of the first hurdles for young professionals to overcome is being aware of some of the existing office rules and etiquette. Whilst it may seem like a daunting step, learning some of these tips will help you to settle down in no time at all.
Arrive early - Time management is an important skill and turning up to work early will help to show that you are dedicated to the job. Make sure you plan your journey to work in advance if you are travelling by car, bus or train just in case. Aim to arrive 10/15 minutes early so that you can settle in to start work on time without being in a rush. It might take a while to get used to but it gets easier the more it becomes a habit!
The Harvard Study of Communications claimed that it only takes seven seconds for you to make a first impression on another human being.
Mobile phones and social media - It can be tempting to use your mobile whilst at your desk to talk to your friends or look up the latest news on social media. This could be frowned upon and viewed as unprofessional, especially if it becomes a habit throughout the day and you are distracting your colleagues. Some companies even go as far as to ban using mobiles completely from the workplace. Set your phone to silent or vibrate in the morning and try to answer any calls or messages on your lunch break or after work if not urgent.
Dress code - How you dress to work is important and the dress code can depend on which type of company or office you are working in. You will generally be able to have an idea of the atmosphere of the office from when you go in for your interview. Work out whether its business casual or suits and ties and then dress accordingly. Make sure you look smart and professional but also take comfort into consideration.
Organisation - Self-organisation is an important part of office etiquette. If you are badly organised or your desk is messy then this will impact on how your co-workers will think of you. Try to keep your desk tidy and help to keep yourself organised by using a diary or notebook. This will help to manage your workload and make sure you don’t forget or lose any important bits of information!
Email etiquette - If you’re not used to emailing regularly, it can be quite daunting when you suddenly have to communicate in a professional environment through email. Make sure you don’t come across too informally by using slang or poor grammar. Be respectful of the people you are communicating with and try to reply to emails as soon as possible. Proofread your emails before you send them and double check who it is that you are sending it too!