Office Work Expectations

Career & Training Zone: Office Skills
Presenting a Professional Image - Expectations of Working in an Office
How to Dress:
  • Take care of personal hygiene: Be well groomed.
  • Dress appropriately: tight-fitting low cut blouses or skirts are not appropriate, neither are joggers. Take time to choose your outfits.
  • Check your image in a long mirror before heading to work.
  • Dress for Success! A neat and clean wardrobe.
How to Communicate:
  • Be confident with good posture. Body Language is about 80% of the conversation. Crossed arms and legs could be perceived as defensive.
  • A cooperative attitude is necessary.
  • Gossiping, swearing, and bringing personal troubles to work is never acceptable.
  • Be courteous, respectful, and cheerful.
How to Be a Good Employee:
  • Arrives on time: being punctual shows respect for other people’s time.
  • Follows the job description and helps out when and where available.
  • Does not abuse sick leave and/or breaks by extending them.
  • Always represents the organization in a positive and professional manner.
Telephone Etiquette:
  • Smile when answering the phone, it helps to project a happy tone (even if you don’ feel that way).
  • Speak clearly to the person, avoid chewing gum, smoking, eating or talking to others while on the phone, give your full attention to the caller.
  • Keep a note pad and pen by the phone and take messages correctly: double check numbers and names, if necessary.
  • Be tactful when staff is away: give a return date or time rather than saying they have not returned from lunch, are sick, on holidays, or on a break.
E-mail Etiquette:
  • Remain professional; do not send chain letters, jokes, or non-work related items.
  • Respond as soon as possible to email items.
  • Use proper punctuation and capitalization (avoid all capitals because it means yelling).
  • Watch what is written because email may not be private, things can be forwarded, copied and printed with or without your permission

Tips based on the book:


Joan I. Campbell. Pitman Office Handbook. Seventh Edition, Pearson Education Canada Inc. Toronto, Ontario. 2008.

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