Basic Office Rules

October 19, 2007 at 12:07 pm Leave a comment

In class, my professor brought up the internship evaluations she was getting back about students. She said the main problem areas were in students’ dress, demeanor and punctuality. She also said students were saying they wish they would have been taught how to talk on the phone.

Punctuality should not be an issue. Arriving to work and getting projects in on time should be a no-brainer, but there are areas that we as students don’t always get trained in.

gt00031.jpgOne thing I have never really been taught is proper phone etiquette. A mistake I see a lot of people make is not putting a caller on hold when someone else walks into the office. Instead, they cover the receiver with their hand or press it against their chest. There is a chance the caller could still hear you.

Also, don’t forget to mind your manners while on the phone. Treat the phone call as if it were a face-to-face meeting. Concentrate on the caller. Don’t shuffle papers or eat, and cut down on background noise if possible.

E-mail is now the main source of communication for a lot of people, in and outside of the workplace. If you are sending an e-mail to your boss or another professional, don’t write it like you’re sending it to a friend.

Make sure the subject line summarizes the point of the e-mail, and address the recipient formally unless you are told otherwise. Also, write the e-mail with the professionalism you would any other document. Be aware of grammar, spelling and punctuation.

kis-trenduk-clothes-330x220_jpg1.jpgAnd what about dress code? Everyone knows not to dress like you’re hanging out with friends, but when you’re told to dress “standard business casual,” what does that really mean? Do I still have to where a suit, or are khakis okay?

Every organization is different, but according to a CNN article, business casual, or mainstream casual, for men includes khakis or other dress pants, pressed cotton shirts, polo shirts or sweaters. For women, the article recommends dress pants or skirts paired with a matching blouse, sweater, cardigan or pullover vest with coordinating accessories. If you still aren’t sure what to wear, simply ask somebody. It’s better than getting in trouble for it in the long run.

So, when it comes to working in a business setting, remember to be professional in your dress, your demeanor and your actions. It can really make a difference.


Entry filed under: Careers.

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