Workplaces are becoming casual and employers are eager to showcase their relaxed culture with new or potential hires. Offices have ditched professional attire to allow employees to wear casual clothing all week long, not just on specific days of the week. Leadership teams are also becoming more accepting of varying work schedules, allowing employees to create a personal and work-life balance.
This flexibility leads to a casual work environment where employees are trusted to get their work done and put their best foot forward. It may not matter when you work or what you’re wearing, but the professional basics remain. Let’s remind ourselves of what professional etiquette looks like, especially in a casual work setting.
Be Cognizant of Time on Your Personal Phone
More often than not, we see or hear coworkers on their personal phone while in the workplace. We get it—people are now doing work from their personal devices. Even so, having a cell phone in hand at all times can be a distraction from in-person or office interactions.
Keep the use of your cell phone professional by tucking it away when it’s not being used for work purposes. If you happen to be stopped by a coworker in passing who brings up a work topic, let them know if you’re expecting a work phone call. Being clear about the use of your phone allows coworkers to understand that you are using it for work purposes, and communicates that the phone in your hand is not being used as a distraction from the conversation you’re having with them.
Silence the phone during meetings, and refrain from checking emails or texts when having conversations with others. Keep the phone away when you have committed to attend a meeting or are having any conversations with your team members. Give your devoted time and attention to those in the room. The emails, texts or missed calls will have your full attention afterward.
Even though the workplace culture is becoming more relaxed, refrain from gossip and from being negative when talking with coworkers. Don’t reference team members or your profession in a negative way—especially when in the workplace. These negative conversations can all be traced back to you, and can impact your professional reputation.
Remain positive about work, the firm that you work for and the relationship with your coworkers on social media as well. Recruiters, future employers and current employees can see the public information you’re sharing online. Resist publicly sharing work-related frustrations or annoyances. Instead, use social media as a tool to emphasize the positive things about the work culture and the projects you’re involved with.
Read more social media tips: How Social Media Impacts Your Career
Respect Others in an Open Workspace
Many workplaces implement an open workspace to spark collaboration amongst team members. An open workspace often provides comfortable seating areas around the office for teams to work together, or open tables and cubicles with shorter walls. With fewer walls and more open space, noise travels further. Keep this in mind when you’re taking a personal or professional phone call.
Because of the open workspace, it’s likely that your company may provide designated private rooms that you can step into whenever needed to have private conversations. Take advantage of these spaces to handle personal matters, or to answer a professional phone call when you don’t want any distractions or noise in the background. Also take advantage of these rooms when you need a quiet space for a virtual meeting. Keeping the noise down doesn’t just benefit you and the professional on the other end of your phone call. Your coworkers will also appreciate you stepping away to have longer discussions in another room while they continue to work and focus in the open workspace.
Remembering to remain professional, even in a casual work environment will continue to propel your career forward. Enjoy the casual environment your employers provide, but continue to be recognized as respectful, attentive and appreciative of the relaxed space you get to work in.