Professionalism in the Office

By Nikki Phipps

Professionalism in the Office

T he office workplace is highly competitive and continuously changing; therefore, the knowledge and use of business manners are essential. Today’s administrative professionals are given greater responsibilities than ever before such as writing, organizing, and maintaining data; interacting with clients, vendors, and the general public; supervising office and staff; handling purchases and training others. With these additional responsibilities ever present, professionalism in the office is vital, and with a better understanding of how to maintain this professionalism in the office, you can easily enhance the necessary skills to achieve your career goals as well as improve business representations within the marketplace.

To become successful within any business, it is imperative to learn and practice the principles of work behavior: competence, conduct, accountability, and interest conflict. Competence includes the knowledge and application of new techniques and ideas. Those with competence generally possess the ability to multi-task rather easily and make use of a variety of skills, including superior time-management. These individuals maintain respect for and are willing to use appropriate resources within the office environment. They are responsible leaders as well, supervising others as a ‘doer’ as well as a leader. All companies and employees should maintain adequate conduct within the office. The proper conduct includes the both knowledge and use of basic etiquette guidelines. This also includes discretion with sensitive content, maintaining a ‘team environment’, and complying with all laws, regulations, and procedures.

Everyone should be accountable for his or her own action, and this is no different within the office. Accountability includes the warranty of work, staying with problems until they are resolved, and being both available and reliable. The final principle of work behavior is interest conflict. Within every office there should be specific practices employed in order to avoid future conflicts. These include safeguarding all confidential information, honoring copyright restrictions, and complying with software license agreements. You should also avoid arrangements with competitors for financial gain or personal recognition and keep the over-commitment of personal time from conflicting with work the responsibilities of work.

Work behavior greatly affects a business’s clientele. Business etiquette is presenting one’s self in a way that shows an ability to be taken seriously. Good interpersonal and customer service skills are essential. The character of a business is often judged by the quality and efficiency of its administrative support. Therefore, a lack of appropriate manners can result in the loss of clientele. The basics of business etiquette can help to avoid any future losses, however. Etiquette basics include appearance, which should be conservative and neat; courtesy and respect; and the practice of both phone and electronic etiquette guidelines. When you practice professionalism in the office, you are ultimately maximizing your overall value to your employer.

There are other ways to maximize your value within the workplace as well. It never hurts to stay ahead. This means keeping yourself informed of technological changes and becoming proficient with an array of software systems. It also helps to enhance or gain new skills by pursuing higher education, becoming certified, attending business-related workshops, and improving both written and verbal communication skills. Volunteering your time can also prove to be worthwhile. Practice leadership abilities offering to train others on improving workplace manners. Become familiar with techniques for managing confrontation such as difficult customers and unpleasant office situations. Practice researching skills. Today’s office professional often helps with research and managing projects from start to finish; therefore, this is a good skill to have. Another important area to become familiar with is office equipment. Learn about the different types and use them correctly. The office workplace is constantly changing and administrative professionals are given more responsibilities as a result. Remember, as an office professional, the way you interact with others is essential for career success, no matter what field you’re involved with.


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