Demonstrate Professional Behavior in the Workplace

If you want to improve your performance at work and your chances of career success, consider these professional behaviors that make good impressions on coworkers and employers:

Arrive on time

Punctuality shows your coworkers that you are reliable, care about your work and value their time. Take steps to ensure you’re on time for work each day, such as setting alarms and using calendar reminders for meetings and conferences. Aim to arrive a few minutes early so if you do encounter traffic during your commute or need to answer an urgent email before a meeting, you can stay on schedule.

Also, make sure you follow your company’s break schedule. If employees receive an hour for lunch and 15 minutes for breaks, return to work within those limits.

Follow your company’s dress code

Regardless of whether your company has a strict dress code, allows casual attire or you work from home, maintain a clean and neat appearance that makes a positive impression on clients and coworkers. Review company guidelines about attire, and avoid items such as wrinkled or poorly fitting clothes, ripped jeans, tank tops and flip-flops. Choose something that looks professional because you represent the company.

Communicate respectfully

When you are at work, use clean language even during casual conversations and emails. Avoid gossiping, talking about sensitive subjects and sharing overly personal information with coworkers. If you do need to confide in a colleague, do it in a private space where customers or managers cannot hear you.

During meetings and discussions, speak clearly and courteously so people can understand you. Listen to your colleagues when they share ideas and acknowledge the things they say even if you disagree. Your tone and language are equally important when communicating through email. Keep emails professional because they become long-term records of conversations.

Be honest

Integrity in the workplace can lead to positive relationships. Coworkers who trust each other are often productive and work well as a team. Be honest if you need personal time off from work or could use an extra few days to complete a project. Keep company and client information confidential. If you see dishonest behavior in the workplace, report it to your manager.

Have a positive attitude

People enjoy working with colleagues who are upbeat and optimistic. If you show up to work motivated and with a good attitude, your colleagues might be likely to display similar behaviors, which can improve overall office morale. If you encounter challenges at work, try to solve them rather than complain about them. Give your colleagues positive feedback and encouragement on projects. Compliment the people around you on their personal and professional achievements.

Take responsibility

Respected professionals set examples by taking responsibility for their actions. If you make a mistake, always admit it and then take steps to correct it or prevent it from happening again. Avoid blaming others, even if they contributed to an issue. Managers appreciate employees who acknowledge failed ideas, missed deadlines or wrong decisions, apologize and try to resolve them. If you realize you need help completing a project or making a big decision, ask for it.

Avoid social media

Even if your job involves posting on social media sites and monitoring company platforms, avoid checking your personal accounts during working hours. If a colleague or manager notices that you are on social media during the day, they might question your productivity. Instead, wait until your lunch break to check social media updates and turn off social media notifications so you won’t be distracted or distract others who work near you.

Help others

Offer to help your colleagues when they appear overwhelmed by tasks or are trying to solve challenging issues. Ask if they want your opinion about an idea or your help completing a project, and respect their response. When you support your colleagues and work together as a team, you can elevate the entire department. Managers also notice employees who are supportive team members and might consider them for leadership roles.

Act ethically

Workplace ethics involve choosing between right and wrong and maintaining strong morals. Act ethically by:

  • Understanding and following company rules and policies

  • Reporting violations, questionable behavior, safety concerns or suspicious actions

  • Removing personal bias and judgment from your decisions and interactions

  • Being accountable and taking responsibility for your actions

  • Asking for help in difficult situations

When you act ethically, you are more likely to make good decisions that benefit your entire team.

Be reliable

Show your colleagues and manager that they can rely on you to meet deadlines, do quality work and show up to meetings on time. When someone asks you to complete a task, commit to doing it well and finishing it on time. Prepare for meetings by reviewing agendas and bringing notes and discussion points. If your manager knows they can depend on you to do high-quality, timely work, they might give you more responsibilities and independence.