Work ethics: Ensuring harmony in office
Employers are advocating strong work ethics as an important criterion of a good employee. Workplace ethics are one of the most talked about topics amongst employers employees. Most organisations place priority on good work ethics and have come up with various programmes to cultivate good ethics among their employees.However, how many of us actually embrace them? Workplace etiquette can be best defined as a code of conduct that brings positive vibes and influence to the development of an organisation. Workplace ethics inspire healthy and interactive communication among staff, respect for each member in the organisation, honesty and integrity.
Ethics comprise principles that outline rules and moral values. An organisation is an avenue that holds a group of individuals with different backgrounds and characteristics. There is an amalgamation of attitudes, thoughts and imaginations that can strengthen or weaken ethical conduct. Thus, it is very important that the sanctity of ethics is understood and applied by each and every employee in an organisation.
How do we ensure that positive shared values are practised by all in an organisation? As the saying goes, “charity begins at home”. It has to start with the top leaders.
A good leader should first adopt and apply these proper codes of conduct to promote an ethics-driven culture in the organisation.
You can state your expectations clearly and get everyone motivated by starting this “virtuous movement” in the office. Next, start analysing and recruiting employees who share or are inclined to follow this belief. Eventually, you will see a harmonious office with good work ethics among your workers.
The work environment has changed over the last two to three decades. In the past, people knew only a number of people from work and fewer people from the same industry. However, the working world has become a huge community with a lot more happening in the office besides work. Through networking, people from various industries get to know each other.
Hence, ethics at work are very important in the interest of getting into your employers’ good books. They also create a warm and comfortable atmosphere with your colleagues. It is not at all difficult, just adhere by these work ethics “commandments” and a conducive atmosphere at work is achievable.
1 Always show respect and do not criticize your employer
This is one main element that has remained sacred over a long period of time. A wise employee will always try to remain in the good books of the boss by adhering to the saying “the boss is always right.” However, times are changing now and bosses have become more accessible. Most employers love to hear inputs, opinions and thoughts from their employees and use them to improve their business. Communicate effectively with your bosses and always show them respect. Just because you are allowed to voice your thoughts, do not go overboard and criticise them. Never ever talk behind their backs either and avoid maligning your bosses.
2 Do not rub your colleagues the wrong way
There was a time when people were not bothered about what was going on in the next cubicle. Today, employers and employees believe in befriending colleagues at work. Activities and programmes at work have created this environment. Always be honest and truthful in relationships with your colleagues. Do not get involved in acts that leave a bad impression of you to your colleagues. People at work can either help you succeed or hamper your prospects. Thus, always be genuine and do not put down someone who has made a mistake.
3 Do not compare yourself with your colleagues
Understand that all employees in an organisation are different and each has been assigned to a task because of a unique talent or skill. Do not compare your work with your colleagues’. Don’t go complaining to your employer or peers when a colleague gets promoted. It will definitely happen when the time comes and when you deserve it.
4 Do not interfere or comment on your colleagues’ personal affairs
If you respect your fellow workers’ private space, you will notice the same demeanour reciprocated to you. Avoid reading their personal emails over their shoulders or eaves dropping when they are on the phone. Show concern when they are down but do not insist on knowing what is bothering them if they are reluctant to tell you. Sometimes, a colleague may open up and confide in you about his/her family affairs or romantic shenanigans. Listen and offer advice when asked, but don’t be over zealous in giving your thoughts and opinions. Most of the time, he/she just wants someone to talk to.
5 Do not be a busy-body
One of the most important work ethics that should be practised by all is to keep your nose stuck in only your own affairs and not of others’. Create a pleasant environment at work by not getting yourself involved in your colleagues’ tasks, until and unless you are asked to help. Do not show off that you can do better than your colleagues, instead redirect that energy into your own assignments and try to excel in them. Do not be a tattletale and feed your employers with information on your colleagues’ failings and faults. You might be in for a surprise as you won’t be praised but will get reprimanded from your superiors for displaying such shallow attitude.
6 Let your attire speak for itself
A lot of emphasis is given on dress code at work. Rules have been set by organisations on how an employee is supposed to dress. This is crucial as employees have to meet clients and stakeholders. As such, an employee’s dressing portrays a picture of his/her professionalism in handling a job. Always dress well and appropriately. Follow the codes set by your management. Dress smart when you are meeting a client. Most organisations have semi-formal days and casual Fridays where they give leeway for their employees to dress down on the last day of the week. So you can leverage on that and enjoy a casual day at work as well.
7 Do not bring family into work
Do not speak at length about your family to your colleagues. True, everyone has a family and your colleagues may be interested in basic details and stories about your family but you don’t want to bore them with your family woes and dilemmas. Nobody wants to listen to lengthy sob stories about your family when there are loads of things to be done at the office. Another rule is to not bring your family to visit your workplace unless they are invited to the premises.
8 Respect the contribution of others
Each colleague in your organisation contributes towards the betterment of the establishment. Each and every contribution that drives productivity in an organisation is seen as a significant and valuable offering. It should be acknowledged and respected. Do not get jealous of the praises your colleagues get for their successful contributions. Always remember, that it goes towards the betterment of the organisation as a whole and this will also bring a positive impact to you as a member of the organisation.
9 Take credit only when it is due and be modest about it
When there is an appraisal and it is due to your work, take the credit for it because all your efforts are acknowledged and you need to celebrate. However, do not leverage solely on the benefits if it involves another colleague’s work as well. Share the acknowledgement and don’t try to grab the spotlight all for yourself. Be modest about your success. The office will definitely be informed about it by your leaders. Do not go on blowing your own trumpet. Accept the wishes with a warm smile and a genuine note of thanks.<
10 Always keep yourself informed
The last rule in the work ethics commandments is to always be well-informed about what is happening in the business. It does not augur well if you do not know how the business structure at the office is taking place or if you are dozing off when a business talk is taking place. Being on top of what is happening in the office and being informed about your workplace affairs will generate a good impression of you as a competent and able employee.
Why are workplace ethics important?
Ethics foster an atmosphere built on trust, sincerity and partnership – important elements for team building. On this foundation, employees are able to work together without prejudice, understand employer expectations well and motivate each other to excel in their jobs.
Provides emotional security
Employees go to work happily knowing that they and their contributions will be respected and appreciated by their superiors. They won’t be harassed by co-workers and can work together harmoniously in a genuine and honest atmosphere.
Protection of company property
An organisation that has everyone following work ethics does not need to worry about employees stealing the company’s assets, falsifying documents, taking false sick leave, extended break hours, playing truant and other disciplinary issues. As for employers, valuing their employees’ contributions, treating them well and rewarding them when necessary is important in accomplishing the organisation’s mission.
A positive public image
A high-flying company that practises good work ethics and conducts shines in the eyes of the public. High ethical standards in your company show that your organisation is genuine. This will attract more stakeholders to partner with your organisation.
How can employers develop better work etiquette in the office?
Practise what you preach
Leaders should practise work ethics themselves before urging their employees to follow suit. Do it first and your workers will definitely follow.
Acknowledge and reward those who practise them
Reward employees who practise good work ethics. It need not be much, it could be an email that is copied to the rest of the company or a small token of appreciation presented to the employees. This will serve as a reminder to the rest of the organisation of the importance you place on ethics and etiquette.
Reprimand those who go against work ethics
If a worker is caught going against work ethics, that person should be reprimanded, no matter how small the fault is. This shows that you are a leader with principle and sends out a strong warning to all the other employees.