Career Resources > Workplace Dos and Don'ts for Fresh Grads

Workplace Dos and Don'ts for Fresh Grads

Workplace Dos And Donts

It’s your first day at work and you have the jitters — will you fit into your new workplace, adapt to the environment and get along with your colleagues? The concerns are plenty for a fresh graduate.

One of the best ways to start your career on the right foot is to cultivate good work habits. Here’s our guide to the top 10 things you should and shouldn’t do at work:


1. Organise

A messy desk says a lot about you as a worker. If you find yourself searching through a pile of documents for 10 minutes each time you need something, you really should organise your desk. File your documents into folders and label them — you’ll be thankful when finding information becomes a breeze. Repeat the same steps for your computer and email account. Multi-tasking may be a valuable skill, but if it’s making your work life a mess, you should be organising and prioritising your work. Pick the tasks that are more critical, and work through the list in order of importance.

2. Listen and learn

Listening is an underrated skill in the workplace. Many of us have attended meetings where everyone is talking but no one is listening because they’re trying so hard to get their point across. Rather than striving to make yourself heard all the time, take time to listen to your co-workers, clients and the boss and you could be surprised by how much you can glean. More often than not, people just need a listening ear, so listen, find out what the problem is and the solution could be easier than you think.

3. Keep an open mind

Work is often unpredictable, as with the people you work with. Learn to keep an open mind to changes at work, new ideas and your colleagues’ different styles of working. Conflicts at work often happen when a worker is unable to accept new ideas or work methods, but you can discover efficient ways to get work done if you allow more innovation and creativity to flourish in the office.

4. Stay positive

Whether at work or in life, a positive attitude will get you ahead in any situation. Stuck with a nitpicking boss, hostile colleagues or a rough week at work? Take a short break to rest, gather your thoughts and go back into the battle zone with a positive, never-say-die attitude. Everyone loves a cheerful go-getter in the workplace, so adopt the right attitude and start the day on the right note – your colleagues will thank you for it.

5. Upgrade and improve

Change is the new mantra in many companies, so upgrading your skills is important in any job. Government agencies and multi-national companies often encourage their workers to learn or upgrade their skills by sponsoring courses – in technical or soft skills – with training or educational institutions. Take advantage of these opportunities to pick up a new skill or upgrade your knowledge in your area of work.


1. Join the gossip mill

Water cooler talk, in moderation, may be good for your emotional well-being, but it’s important to know where to draw the line. Participating in petty gossip about the boss or other colleagues is unproductive, and often disruptive in the workplace. Rather than risk riling your boss and coworkers, use that time more efficiently: do research for a proposal, build a relationship with a client, or just take a 10-minute breather outside.

2. Procrastinate

We’ve all been a victim of procrastination – putting aside a dreaded task for tomorrow when it should be done today, or yesterday. The task won’t go away and procrastinating will only make the matter worse; you could end up feeling guilty or depressed. So, just grit your teeth and get it sorted out before the problem becomes worse.

3. Be afraid to rock the boat

Playing it safe may be a stress-free way for many, but great ideas do not come from staying safe. Men like Isaac Newton, Steve Jobs and Benjamin Franklin earned their place in history by challenging the norm and developing inventions or ideas that contributed to society. The tried-and-tested formula may not be the most efficient method at work. Challenge, provoke and reinvent — it may not always work out, but you’ll love the adrenaline rush that comes with the challenge.

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