Careers Advice

Workplace habits to avoid on your placement

For many graduates, a ScotGrad placement is their first taste of working in an office environment. There are certain unspoken dos and don’ts, so ScotGrad’s Cameron Scott reveals his top 10 habits to avoid.

Published: 12/04/2017

1.    Being noisy

Although offices aren’t silent, speaking loudly when on the phone, playing music, talking, and even typing noisily can irritate your colleagues. Keep your mobile on silent and be courteous to your colleagues. 

2.    Stinky food

While your fish pie might have been delicious last night, spare your co-workers the stink of re-heating the leftovers in the microwave for your lunch.

3.    Aircon control

Second only to the weather, air conditioning and the temperature of the room is one of the hottest topics of office small-talk and often leads to disagreement. The topic is so contested that some have even called it sexist. If you’re feeling the cold or burning up, it’s polite to ask your colleagues if they’re feeling the same before you adjust the thermostat.

4.    Tea round politics

Tea and coffee rounds are a minefield to the untrained eye, but you’ll soon get to know people’s habits. Watch how widely people extend their offers of cuppas and work to that system. Definite don’ts include; finishing the milk and putting it back in the fridge, or stealing someone’s premium tea bags!

5.    Over-sharing

Although it’s great to make new friends at your placement, it’s important to remember that you’re in a professional environment. It might not be wise to share all the details of what you did on your Saturday night out, or discuss the ins and outs of your personal relationships.

6.    Being late

Nobody likes to be kept waiting and your employer, colleagues and clients are no different. First impressions are important, so plan to make sure you’re on time in the morning and for meetings.

7.    Complaining

Work can sometimes be stressful, especially when things aren’t going your way, but try to avoid complaining. It can grind on co-workers sitting near you, and bring the team spirit down. If you have a genuine complaint, you should raise it with your manager.

8.    Not asking for help

During your ScotGrad placement, you won’t be expected to know everything straight away. Employers would prefer that you asked for help when you need it rather than struggle, only for someone else to have to correct your work.

9.    Gossiping

When you spend hours every day with people, little disagreements or misunderstandings can happen, but try not to get involved. Just like at school and university, don’t gossip about your co-workers, especially management. More often than not, it will turn around and bite you.

10.  Space invasion

Paper, stationary, mugs and general tat accumulate quickly in office environments. Respect your colleagues’ space by keeping on top of your clutter and avoid spreading out onto nearby desks.

Now you’ve got a better idea of the office environment, check out our graduate and student placements.