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How does one navigate the workplace successfully?

  • Aniya Faulcon
Workers field calls at an intake call screening center for the Allegheny County Children and Youth Services office in Penn Hills, Pa. on Thursday, Feb. 17, 2022.

 Keith Srakocic / AP Photo

Workers field calls at an intake call screening center for the Allegheny County Children and Youth Services office in Penn Hills, Pa. on Thursday, Feb. 17, 2022.

Airdate: Thursday, September 1, 2022

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Navigating the workplace can be challenging when trying to perform well as an employee and learn the unspoken rules of the environment.

According to a survey conducted by Cision PR Newswire, while over 90% of senior managers said organizations have loosened up over the past decade, they agreed that certain behaviors are still frowned upon. But some dos and don’ts of the workplace are not always spelled out to an employee during their orientation.

Emily Whitaker, Human Resources Manager at Cargas a software company based in Lancaster, gave us some insight on the unspoken rules of the workplace and tips on how to navigate it.

Here are some of the tips that she provided:

  1. Know when to mute yourself or turn off your camera when working virtually
  2. Establish good communication and working relationships with coworkers
  3. Ask coworkers what their pronouns are and address them according to their preference
  4. Find out if emails can be sent outside of business hours
  5. Find out if you can put personal activities on your work calendar
  6. Be aware of how your company approaches chain of command
  7. Get to know your manager as a person and develop respect for them as a leader
  8. When taking time off, communicate with managers about meetings or deadlines you will miss
  9. Casual wear should be one level down from whatever your normal work attire is
  10. Instead of defending yourself in the workplace, advocate for yourself
  11. When dealing with a confrontation, respond to coworkers in an empathetic way and address them in private, without assigning blame, or attacking them
  12. Networking and upskilling can help one prepare for unexpected layoffs and terminations
  13. When negotiating, approach the other person with respect, assess market data for your role, and be realistic about your performance as an employee

“The more you can learn about your current job, the more you can learn about your own business, the more value you’ll bring because you’ll be a better problem solver,” Whitaker said. “And if you understand the battle with the bottlenecks, workflows, and roadblocks, you’ll be better able to make decisions in your own role, which will make you more valuable to the business.”

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