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Professionalism is a code of conduct enforced in the workplace that dictates how employees and associates must behave, dress and interact with co-workers and clients. Professionalism is also reflected in the effort and quality of work put forth by employees.
Appropriate attire depends upon the workplace setting. A business office may require employees to dress formally, while a boutique or retail store may be casual or enforce a uniform or specific color combination. In all cases, clothes must be clean, unwrinkled and undamaged. Immodest or overly- revealing clothes should be avoided.
Employees and associates conduct themselves professionally by being courteous, considerate, respectful and helpful to co-workers and clients or customers. For example, responding to messages, phone calls and emails in a timely manner and addressing co-workers and customers by position or age-appropriate titles (Doctor, Professor) are considered to be high professional standards.
In the context of professionalism, speaking correctly goes beyond using industry-appropriate terms or "business speak." Speaking professionally means avoiding slang, mispronounced words, grammatical errors and profanity.
A strong work ethic is a professional moral code emphasizing honesty, integrity and accountability. Examples include respecting and valuing the business by not wasting company time, performing a job correctly and completely and putting the necessary effort into a project or assignment.
Professionalism and Etiquette
In situations where professional protocol is unclear, general social etiquette can be applied.
Nadine Ali has written for local publications including the "North Bergen Reporter" and "The Montclarion," as well as online for various websites. She is currently pursuing a graduate degree in psychology and social work.