In an office environment it is important to always maintain a professional demeanor. Punctually is essential and every attempt should be made to arrive on time. Unless you are expecting an important call, cell phones should be turned off or set on vibrate so as not to disrupt the office. Dress in the proper attire for the type of business conducted. For example wearing jeans in a professional office environment would be considered inappropriate, but jeans may be acceptable attire in a construction office.
One of the most important factors in office procedures is how customers are treated when they phone or visit the office.
When dealing with customers in person it is a good idea to greet the person with a smile and be attentive to their needs. If a customer comes in with a complaint listen attentively but don’t become defensive, confrontational or get upset, it will only serve to escalate the situation. Show genuine concern though facial expression or body language, when a customer complains. If the customer is ranting, allow them to rant--don't try to stop them or talk over them. Once they have voiced their complaint, calmly respond by telling them what you plan to do to help them or to whom you will refer them and how that person will be able to assist in resolving the problem.
Because the person on the other end of the line can’t see you, phones should be answered in an upbeat manner. The person on the other end should be able to hear the “smile” in your voice. Always answer incoming calls with the name of the company taking care to enunciate the name of the company so that it is understandable. Sometimes it is necessary to screen calls before forwarding them to the recipient. Make every attempt to get the person's name right. Keep a notepad handy to write down the caller’s name in case of interruptions or the recipient does not answer and the call is bounced back. This will make it possible to address the caller directly.
Interaction with Other Employees
It is never a good idea to discuss personal issues with other employees or get involved in office gossip. Politics and religion should be avoided as topics of office conversation.
Always be respectful when addressing other employees. A good rule-of-thumb is if the person you are addressing is a subordinate it’s OK to address them by their first name, but a supervisor or manager should be addressed as Mr. or Ms. unless they ask to be addressed by their first name.
The work area should always be clean, neat and organized. If you are out sick or away from the office for any reason, someone may have to retrieve information from your desk and should not have to “rummage” through everything in your work area to find what they are looking for. It is also important not to keep personal items in or on your desk because someone my accidentally “stumble” upon something you don’t want to become public.
Attention to Detail
If the work requires several steps to complete, it’s a good idea to make a checklist and check off each item as it is completed. No matter what duties are assigned close attention to detail is crucial to doing a good job.
If document creation is a part of the job, make sure to run a spell and grammar check on each document. Whatever the job requires, it is always a good idea to double-check the work before turning it in.
Formerly a teacher and consultant on computer operations and software applications for business schools, Andrea Carson is the owner and publisher of "Seniors of Las Vegas (SoLV)," a free magazine that deals strictly with issues involving senior citizens. Carson has a varied background that includes administrating nursing services, ad development, writing novels and screenplays and ghostwriting.