I’ve been in corporate long enough to know that there are just some things that are not quite appropriate for an office environment; and a professional setting in general.

Our behaviour should, essentially, be centred around acting in a professional manner at all times.   If you want to get ahead, be taken seriously, and be seen an asset to the team, doing things in a professional way is of utmost importance. Also, I’ve always held the view that; when you start seeing yourself as playing a critical role in your team; you will most likely work with your team members, as opposed to working against them.

First and foremost, making your colleagues look bad will not make you shine – let’s just get that out of the way. I have made this observation over the years; and I’m certain that you’ve also encountered this behaviour on many occasions. There’s that one colleague that must ALWAYS cc a manager in an email, in effort to make you look bad. I will not delve any deeper, except to say that this behaviour reveals more about the individual doing it, more than anything else. Guard your actions.

Here are a few examples of the most commonly cited examples of behaviour that is often frowned upon, and even not tolerated by most companies.

Disregarding these, it can often, at best, make you unpopular or, at worst, might even see you being disciplined.

Things you shouldn’t do at work include:

  • Engage in idle gossip about other colleagues or your boss or ‘bad mouth’ them. (In an organisation I worked for previously, it was a dismissible offence to gossip about a colleageue on email).
  • Don’t get involved in any banter which might have sexual or racial overtones.
  • Be modest and don’t harp on about previous  achievements or be an attention seeker. It’s not an attractive trait. Granted, it’s okay to feel proud about your achievements, but believe me – that’s not the only thing your colleages want to hear about. Perhaps, consider sharing how the contributions you’ve made to the team have positively influenced the company’s performance; and from these conversations form new ideas as a team. Remember, you’re all working towards achieving a common goal.
  • Don’t try to court favour with your boss or immediate supervisors. Do your job, and show up in excellence – that is the most productive way of impressing those higher up the ladder.
  • Complain too much. (This is exhausting, quite honestly!) It’s acceptable to occasionally express your displeasure with the manner in which certain situations are handled; the problem starts when you get into a routine of gripping colleagues on a consistent basis . In short, pick your battles.
  • In an open plan office, please avoid having your phone ringing on loud. This can be distracting.

Furthermore, when you move to a new workplace, always err on the side of caution and use those first few days to casually observe your fellow colleagues and to try to establish what’s considered ‘reasonable’ behaviour and what isn’t. If you’re unsure about certain things such as if it’s acceptable to have your mobile phone on, for example, or the specifics of the dress code, chat to your manager. Get clarity. Familiarise yourself with your company’s Code of Conduct, and ensure that you adhere to it.

We spend a great deal of time at work; and as an employee, you should consider your behavior and the impact it can have on others. Nobody wants to be in an unhappy work environment.

Have you experienced any of the above? Have you participated in any of the above perhaps? Do share your views below.

Until next time, love and light.


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