See the Unwritten Rules and Avoid Faux Pas in the Office
7 September, 2018 in Career Advice

So, it is time for changes. You got a job position in a new organization, and are ready to impress and learn. You are introduced to all other employees and they send you a welcoming warm vibe using an email. Your new boss takes you out to lunch to understand what kind of a person you are.

This is the time when you have to learn quickly and see the unwritten and written rules of the company to succeed. You will get to know how to compose and file a report on expenses, book the travels, and order the printed materials. You have to be attentive to get an insight into all the company policies, official regulations, workplace rules, and requirements to the employees.  You should get clear understanding of the mission, goals, and values of the company; however, the unwritten rules are equally important. For instance, you will get to know what day of the week you can dress informally and how you can bring your pet to your workplace. 

The Unwritten Rules of the Company

No one will show you a list of workplace rules which are, actually, the most important for your nice work. They embody the company culture and govern the system of work at the organization, although none of them is included in the handbook of an employee. 

Be careful! Keep your eyes open! 

In case no one told you how to behave when the CEO leaves the room, have a look at what your colleagues do. Watching them, you can learn much more than you will do from official company rules. 

Here are the rules for employees in the workplace, not included into any official regulations. Just observe!

What is Flextime?

All employees adore flextime! That is reasonable and understandable. The idea of freedom to decide on the time when you get to the office and to how your working time is arranged makes you happy. The opportunity to be not dependable on the approval of your employer when you need to see a dentist gives you joy. Why shouldn’t you like those rules of work? Excellent, you thought! However, hold on.

Your workplace boasts about flexibility of the time schedule, but is it really so? You do see other employees leaving at approximately 6 p.m. and getting to the office next day not later than 8 a.m. Have you noticed anybody leaving work in the afternoon to go to the bank, hairdresser, or at least a pharmacy? Is any of the office chairs vacant at midday? 

You do remember the work and social rules that your hiring manager told you about. Now, being a part of the team, look around! Only this will help you understand how to schedule your personal affairs and to get used to the reality of the company workday. 

When is the Actual End of a Working Day?

When I got a new colleague, Megan, she felt extremely enthusiastic about her new job. It was a great opportunity for her to update her resume and get a huge salary. Everything went smooth until she realized how the things worked in the company. According to the unspoken rules, the boss was the first person to leave from the office. She had worked for several weeks and realized that the earliest time he left home was 9 p.m. 

She realized that it is a great stress to leave first even if the working day is officially over. If she came earlier than the others, it was not praised somehow. Moreover, no one ever noticed that; however, if she left earlier, it caused a lot of sidelong glances. Megan realized that her daily productivity stood no comparison with her early leaving. She got a label of a bad team worker and a lazy person, no matter how hard she had been working. 

Think twice if such a culture works for you. You will have to tolerate staying late; otherwise, your work performance will be underestimated.

What is the Policy of an Open Door? 

See the unwritten rules disclosed for you when you realize how the policy of open doors to the CEO’s office actually works. One of your colleagues may inform you that you can come with your fresh ideas to the CEO’s room to talk about them. That is a chance to get promoted! They are open to your suggestions and they will definitely award you for your contributions. 

Wait a bit! Have a close look at the CEO’s doors during the day. If no one ever opens it, it is a sign that the manager does not actually admire the idea of the employees entering the executive suite with their offers. Observing the organizational behavior in the workplace, you may check if the CEO is frequently around. It may happen that he hardly ever appears to share the ideas with any of the employees.  

Even if the official job rules claim that the open doors of the bosses are the company policy, watch first. Observe what happens that someone of your colleagues enters the CEO’s office. If you see that this initiative can be beneficial for you, try the policy and share your top-notch ideas. Good luck!  

When Does an Email Require Response?

You may notice that your manager sends long important emails after midnight. According to the instruction you have, there is no need to work on them until the next working day. However, you see the unwritten rule that contradicts the instruction entirely. In the early morning, your colleagues come well aware of the latest project and plans of the company when you are still going to open your first email in the inbox. 

Try to realize how the employees participate in the company strategy and do the same. There is no need to wake up every time your manager is inspired with the new working plan, but try to look through the emails within several minutes every morning. If you have missed something overnight, catch up with that as soon as you can. 

How Should I Dress?

You are still unaware of the rules for employees in terms of clothes. For your first interview with a hiring manager, you got out of the wardrobe your best suit and shoes. However, should you wear that great attire on a daily basis? What are the office rules about casual clothes?

Walking along the corridors, you see your co-workers wearing jeans and shorts. That is a sign that a business-casual style is not needed at this job. Observe the colleagues who have the same or similar role in the company. Are they wearing flip-flops or sneakers? Have they got piercings or tattoos? Dress to look competent and confident, but mind the organizational rules not to feel stupid. 

Do the Employees Take Vacations?

The generation of Millennials is not fond of any limitations or tight ties with the workplace?  Check what the balance between work and life is at your desired work. Check on the corporate vacation policy to see how long you will take off, and then see how many days are actually scheduled for every employee. Are there many office absences in summer months? Are your colleagues willing to take long vacations? Evaluate your own freedom based on the liberty of your co-workers.

You will get to know if your awesome job has any hidden aspects only if you use your skills of observation. You will soon know where to get a cup for your morning coffee. Then it is time to figure out which of the unwritten rules are the most important and maintain the work ethics to get promoted soon.

visibility 1