The definition of professionalism is widespread and unique to whomever you may ask about it. A software expert named Eric Lippert once said, “Professionalism is not about adherence to the policies of a bureaucracy. [It] is about having the integrity, honesty, and sincere regard for the well-being of the customer, in the context of always doing what is best for the business.”
There are numerous pieces to what truly defines someone as a professional. Whether you are a business owner, manager, or an employee, it is important to understand how to keep this important practice on your mind and the minds of those around you.
Here are some tips to help you maintain professionalism in the office.
1. Good Attitude
Having a good attitude is a vital aspect of professionalism for both employees and team managers. It is proof to everyone around you that you enjoy your job and are happy to be there. Though there may be difficult times in your position, a good attitude will help you focus on your work, completing your tasks more quickly and efficiently.
This positive perspective sets the office at ease, making it easier for people to work together and maintain strong, professional relationships.
2. Clean Appearance
Proper grooming is important on many different levels. First impressions can having a lasting impact on those you work with, so keeping a clean appearance can get you started on the right foot. While some companies may have a less strict dress code than others, you should do all you can to meet and exceed those standards.
Depending on your workplace, you may be required to wear business attire, making it crucial that you iron your clothes and even shine your shoes. While it’s not as taboo to have facial hair in today’s world, men should at least keep their beards trimmed and tidy. Take all the necessary measures to maintain clean teeth, clean clothes, and a proper haircut.
3. Time Management
One of the biggest issues many professionals struggle with is managing their time wisely. Procrastination and a lack of self-control can lead to subpar work and limited productivity. Using the Pomodoro Technique can be an effective way to recenter your focus and get into a better routine.
This technique is defined as taking 25 minutes to work on a project, followed by a 5 minute break period. There are a handful of Pomodoro timer apps available to those who want to give this method a try.
4. Be Reliable
Reliability in the workplace is often related to time as well. A reliable employee is on time for work everyday and completes their work on time when there is a deadline. Likewise, team members must be able to rely on their managers and trust them to do the right thing for the group.
Those who are unreliable can negatively affect the performance of an entire office by putting others behind. Ensure you and everyone around you is committed to being reliable and working together to achieve current goals.
5. Stay Focused
The world we live in is more distracting than ever, with everything from the internet to texting and social media. It’s easy to get sidetracked and fall behind. While things like the Pomodoro Technique are effective, there are plenty of other ways to keep yourself focused.
Set definitive goals every day to ensure you know what you want to accomplish. Practice meditating to teach yourself how to avoid distractions. Exercises like these can help you stay focused at work and maintain professionalism in the workplace.
6. Get Organized
Another great way to keep yourself focused is by keeping your office space in order. Getting organized can be difficult and staying organized can be even harder. But both are equally important to your productivity.
Once your office space is organized, you can also use a variety of online tools to keep your work organized. Toggl Plan’s software helps both managers and employees organize their tasks and workload, while also being able to keep track of progress.
7. Keep Learning
The definition of professionalism adapts to the world around it. Becoming an expert in this art form will help you communicate effectively, be humble, and find consistency. Develop good habits centered around being professional and efficient. Keep learning about the latest trends in your industry and at your company. Keep learning about the expectations your boss and your employees have for you, too.
As your definition of professionalism continues to evolve, you’ll find greater success both at work and at home.
8. Develop Your Soft Skills
People often say things like “chivalry is dead” and “there’s no such thing as common courtesy.” Learning soft skills is a great way to counteract these common mindsets. These skills will help you be more socially aware, connect with others on a deeper level, and develop lasting business relationships.
Take some time to learn about the following soft skills and how you can incorporate them into your daily life:
- Problem solving
- Conflict resolution
9. Be Honest
The importance of integrity in business has been revisited time and time again by companies who understand how vital it is to keeping professionalism in their workplace. Integrity is about far more than simply being honest. It branches out into having morals, ethical convictions, and high standards of living.
Just as crucial to being honest with others, integrity encompasses being honest with oneself as well. Make sure you take a look at yourself on occasion to keep your integrity in check and a major part of who you are.
The last one on this list may be the most important of them all, because it helps maintain consistency for each of the previous professionalism tips. Good managers and employees alike keep each other accountable to ensure work is being completed successfully and on time.
It is important to keep in mind that accountability doesn’t come at the end of a project, but instead is carried from step one until the very end.
Maintain Professionalism in the Office
Adding even just one or two of these tips to your arsenal will help you look and feel more professional around your workplace. Learn how to manage your time, master soft skills, and have a good attitude. Each of these will lead to more professionalism in the office and a more comfortable work atmosphere for everyone.
Toggl Plan offers great resources to improve your ability to accomplish many of these tasks with innovative software. Sign up for a free trial of our software here.
Logan Derrick is a full-time business writer and content marketing strategist. For years, he has worked closely with several project management professionals, learning from them and increasing his own knowledge of the industry. Having held multiple management positions in fields ranging from customer service to marketing, Logan has found a passion for helping others learn about project management, marketing, and the powerful tools available to professionals today.