Professionalism in the Workplace
In today’s competitive work environment, one of the greatest qualities an employee can have is professionalism. But what does it mean to act professionally? While maintaining appearances is important, being professional isn’t just about putting on a suit. Rather, it’s about how you conduct yourself in and out of the workplace. In this article, we’ll discuss what professionalism is, why it’s important, and how to act professionally in the office, outside of work, and online.
What Is Professionalism?
Professionalism is comprised of several qualities, including accountability, responsibility, respect, integrity, timeliness, and technical skill. It means you’re ethical, team-oriented, and a problem solver. Effectively communicating with your coworkers and managers, staying productive, and constantly striving to do the job better are all part of a professional demeanor.
Why Is Professionalism Important?
Whether you’re preparing for an interview, striving for a promotion, or starting a home-based business to leave your office job, acting professionally can enhance your reputation and success.
Professionalism at Work
Whether you’re interacting with customers or coworkers, acting professionally is critical to succeeding in your career. Maintaining professionalism in the office will help you create successful interpersonal relationships and build a good reputation. Acting professionally involves:
- Focusing on customers’ needs. Never raise your voice or argue with them. Even if someone is being rude, you can politely turn them away.
- Not oversharing about your personal life.
- Refraining from gossip and distracting your coworkers with constant comments. Reserve chitchat for break times and lunch.
- Communicate effectively about your workload, expectations, and responsibilities so you can properly manage your time.
- Helping others when you have a few extra minutes.
- Not spending time on social media or your phone unless your job requires it.
- Showing up to the office and meetings — whether in person or virtual — on time.
- Keeping your side hustle on the side. Maybe you blog, prepare tax documents or work as a part-time real estate agent after normal business hours. If the additional working hours make you feel burnt out, it could make you less focused on your full-time job.
It’s especially important to act professionally when you resign from a job. If you can, give adequate notice, although that may not be possible if you’re moving to a different city for a job. Whether you’re using an online home value estimator to sell your home on a for-sale-by-owner website or trying to find a real estate agent, there will be a lot to do in your personal life. However, that shouldn’t keep you from wrapping up any standing projects or helping facilitate a smooth transition at your job.
Professionalism Outside of Work
Professionalism isn’t just for the workplace. How you conduct yourself outside of work is just as important. You’re still representing your company, and you never know who you might run into from your network. When you’re not in the office, you can maintain a professional composure by:
- Not oversharing at happy hour with your coworkers. You may regret it when you’re back in the office Monday.
- Minding your manners and not gossiping too much, or too loudly, about your job at lunch or dinner with friends. You never know who could be sitting at the table next to you.
- Treating those around you with respect, whether you’re at the airport, a restaurant, or sitting in traffic. If you’re rude to a server or full of road rage during your commute, it’s possible that a colleague or client could see you and be left with a bad impression.
- Joining an industry organization or volunteering with a nonprofit to build your network and give back to your community.
In this day and age, how you conduct yourself online is just as important as how you carry yourself in the real world. A lot rides on your digital presence, as does your email and video conferencing etiquette. Follow these steps to act professionally online:
- Don’t share information, such as political views or raunchy content, that would get you or your employer in trouble on your personal social media channels.
- Use professional language in your work emails. Remember, humor and tone don’t always translate via email or text. Be careful not to say something that could come off as negative.
- Don’t email, text, or message comments you wouldn’t want your boss or coworkers to see.
- If you’re on camera in a video meeting, make sure you don’t look unkempt. You don’t necessarily need to dress to the nines, but at least comb your hair and change out of your pajamas.
- During video conferences, when you’re not talking, mute your microphone — especially if you’re in a noisy place.
- If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, consider making one. It’s a great tool for networking with professionals online and meeting others in your industry.
Professionalism comes into play whether you’re talking to your boss or posting on Facebook. Ultimately, it’s about how you act when no one is looking and how you treat your customers and colleagues. Navigating the business world can be tricky, but embodying the qualities that make a professional will help you succeed inside and outside the workplace.