Workers do get reprimanded – and not because of their work. The reason? A lack of workplace etiquette. Here’s a list of dos and don’ts to make you a professional at work.

ATTIRE If it’s too short, too revealing or too casual, don’t wear it to work. Find out your company’s dress code from the human resources department or observe what your supervisors are wearing. Don’t forget the shoes – scruffy and dirty, bad; clean and presentable, good.

BOSS OR BFF? Getting along with your superiors can make working life easier but like all relationships, there is a line you cannot cross. So, while it is cool to joke with your boss, remember to get serious when the time calls for it. A missed deadline is still a missed deadline even if your boss is a “funny guy”.

CONFIDENTIALITY Most companies have a strict policy on confidentiality, particularly on projects. So, don’t start blabbing, tweeting, updating your social media about work stuff. If a colleague or a supervisor tells you something in private, keep it to yourself so that you build your reputation as someone trustworthy.

DATING Office romances happen. So do breakups – which make it awkward, especially if it is a bad one. Not just for the ex-couples but also for those working closely with them. The golden rule? Don’t do it. But if it does happen, be professional and separate work from your personal life. Oh, and a relationship with the boss? Bad idea.

EMAIL Your email should be used strictly for work, not to send a blast about the latest office gossip or to rant about your boss. Hint: some corporations do go through your emails (and they have every right to it) so before you hit the “send” button, think twice.

FACEBOOK Don’t spend your work hours scouring through your friends’ updates and photos. Don’t post complaints about your boss, client or company. Don’t upload photos of your Friday night debauchery if you don’t want your colleagues (or boss) to gossip about it on Monday.

GOSSIP Juicy office gossip is a reality. You spreading the gossip? Not nice at all. Plus, imagine if someone else starts a smear campaign on you. Not very nice now, right?

HYGIENE Remember the basics: keep your breath fresh by chewing mint gum and drinking lots of water. Deodorants are a must, especially if you sweat a lot or when it’s a hot and humid day. Don’t douse yourself with perfume. Keep your hair and nails neat. Don’t ever take your shoes off at work. Wear clean clothes always. Shave.

INSTAGRAM See Facebook. Same rules apply.

JOKES A little bit of humour at the office is great. But not if jokes are racist, sexist or rude. If it makes someone uncomfortable, stop. If nobody is laughing, stop. And if you’ve clearly offended someone with your jokes, apologise. Save your jokes for friends who’ve known you for ages (and will forgive you for them).

KEEP IT CLEAN How can you get any work done if your desk looks like a tornado has swept past it? Be responsible for your workspace and keep it organised. Plus, a messy desk is a sign of a cluttered mind. File away papers and shut down the computer at the end of the day. Also, do your part in keeping the office clean. Don’t leave your coffee mug in the pantry unwashed.

LANGUAGE Mind your language. No derogatory terms or swearing – ever. Even if your colleague, supervisor or client makes you angry, go to the toilet cubicle and let out of steam there.

MEETINGS Be on time. Be prepared if you are presenting. Don’t fiddle with your phone or look bored when someone else is talking.

NAMES Make it a point to remember your colleagues’ names, especially if you’re the newbie. It shows that you are friendly and sincere. If your memory is bad, try this trick. Repeat their name as soon as you are introduced to them or after a meeting. Do this for a whole week.

OFFICE PARTY Sure, office parties are social events but they are still business events. Don’t turn up in your Phuket clubbing outfit. Don’t overdrink or overeat. Don’t spend the evening being a bore – complaining, whining or ridiculing others. Have fun – but restrain yourself. Sharing a drink or two with colleagues is fine. Dirty dancing on the table top? Not a good idea.

PUNCTUALITY If your starting time is 9am, be there by 8.45. If a meeting is scheduled for 10am, turn up 10 minutes earlier. No one likes waiting for the habitual late-comer.

QUITTING Don’t burn bridges when you are quitting your job. Be professional until the last day. Some industries are small and your peers will hear about your conduct sooner or later.

RESPECT You don’t have to fake it but you do need to respect your colleagues and extend common courtesy to them. Ask before you borrow anything whether it’s a stapler or a shawl (like when the air-cond hits 12 degrees Celsius on a rainy day). Respect their privacy (don’t listen in on their phone calls or read their emails) and their opinions (even if you disagree with them).

SSHH... Keep your volume down, from your music to phone calls. No one wants to hear about your new tattoo or verbal diarrhoea, especially if she’s trying to get her job done.

TELEPHONE MANNERS Basic phone manners, especially when talking to clients, are a must. Speak clearly and introduce yourself. Don’t mumble or make small talk. Go straight to the point and don’t waste anyone’s time. And even if you’re frustrated, don’t slam the phone after the call.

UNDERSTAND You will work with all sorts of people who come from different walks of life, culture and belief. If you make it a point to know others, it will make your working life a whole lot easier. A great way to understand your colleagues better? Be a good listener and pay attention.

VACATION Before you go on your holiday, make sure you complete all your work. You don’t want your colleagues to pick up after the loose ends or worse, your boss calling you while you’re enjoying cocktails by the beach. Leave your workspace neat and tidy so your team knows where to find important documents and files. Update your out-of-office message on your email and be sure to include an alternate point of contact for immediate requests.

WORKSPACE Think of a workspace as a personal space. You wouldn’t want a stranger encroaching on yours, right? Extend that courtesy to your colleagues: don’t use their workspace without their permission or go through their personal items while they are not there. Also, don’t just barge into their workspace, they might be working on something important and don’t want to be interrupted.

X-RATED You can be fired if you’re caught watching X-rated stuff during office hours. Keep the X-rated jokes and comments out, too, or you may be reprimanded for sexual harassment.

YOUR SALARY A taboo topic. Don’t be a busybody because no one wants to know if he or she is being paid less for doing the same job as another colleague. Just do not stray into the salary territory. It’s a private matter and asking is just plain rude.

ZZZZZ Last, but not least, don’t get caught sleeping on the job!

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