No matter how much we would love to spend our workdays at home, snuggled under a blanket in our favorite sweats with a delivery order arriving soon, most of us still grind our daily gears in a more traditional office environment. Until robots have replaced co-working spaces and we’re all just independent contractors working from our own satellite orbiting the moon, we need to maintain a professional reputation in the workspace. These helpful habits will help you keep things #profesh without stagnating your creative juices and personal style.
Do routine maintenance.
You don’t need to go full Met Gala on your grooming routine every a.m., but checking a few key boxes will make a well-kempt impression on your co-workers while minimizing your own time and effort. Hair, skin, and nails are the big three here. You’ll want to take the time to drag a brush through your hair and use a product or two to keep it in a stable position; wash your skin every morning and evening; and maintain a basic manicure even if you opt-out of colored polish. Focusing on these key areas will help you look and feel fresh-faced without burning time or money.
Keep your workspace tidy.
Marie Kondo is calling, and she said it’s time to throw out that pile of product samples taking up real estate on your desk. Keeping your work station in tip-top shape gives off an air of organizational skills and ownership of your duties, making you appear well-equipped to handle anything the boss can throw at you. Plus, most people are more productive when they don’t have to wade through an ocean of debris to get to their computer monitor.
Never say “that’s not my job.”
Even if it isn’t, help direct the person who’s looking to dole out a task to someone with responsibility over that domain. And if that person doesn’t exist, be willing to jump on board and go above the bare minimum of your job description to help solve a workplace problem. Rejecting someone who’s asking for help leaves a bad taste in everyone’s mouth, and might get you passed over for future opportunities.
Don’t jump on the defensive.
Taking feedback is hard, especially if it’s not given in a particularly constructive manner. Instead of reacting defensively, use the opportunity to reflect on what you could have done differently and evaluate your own decision-making process. If you’re feeling too hot-headed to handle at the moment, take a break for a glass of water (or even a walk around the block) then come back to the conversation with a cooler head. Feedback is always a chance for self-improvement, so take it as a growing pain and grow through it.
When you commit to a task, get it done. This also means that you’ll have to avoid over-promising when you can’t deliver to avoid the appearance of falling short. By being selective about where you put your time and efforts, your work will shine brighter and your co-workers will know that when they do have a commitment from you, they won’t have to worry about the follow-through.