When starting a new job, it can take time to get used to the culture. Every organisation is different and when it comes to discipline, some workplaces are stricter than others. But if you really don’t want to get handed your P45 for a misdemeanour, it’s a good idea to first acquaint yourself with the workplace culture and etiquette, as well as any specific HR policies regarding employee behaviour.
Here are a few areas where it might be useful to talk to other employees if you don’t want to be let go during your probationary period.
There’s a very fine line between making a joke and making a comment that could be construed as sexual harassment, discrimination or bullying, and lead to dismissal. And that fine line can vary hugely from one organisation to the next, so it’s best not to start showing off your stand-up skills until you’ve got a better feel for the workplace culture in the organisation. Be polite and respectful at all times until you suss out what’s acceptable and what isn’t. Even talking behind someone’s back can be a sackable offence in some companies.
Conducting personal business during work time
Many employers believe that mobile phones are one of the biggest distractions for employees in the workplace, so using yours to check social media or make personal calls when you should be working can be a big no-no in some organisations. Again, check with your colleagues to see what’s acceptable. The same applies when it comes to company resources, such as email, stationery, or the photocopier, for personal use.
What you do in you spare time…
You might be under the impression that when you’re not at work, you can do what you want, but that isn’t the case in some companies. If you’re spotted by a manager, or, worse still, a client indulging in an illegal activity, such as taking drugs on social media, you could be disciplined and subject to dismissal. Some companies may even take action if you’re seen engaging in unprofessional behaviour outside of the workplace.
Ignoring health and safety
While company dress codes have relaxed and become less enforced over recent years, in some industries such as construction or catering, safety dress and equipment is part and parcel of the job. It can be illegal not to wear a hard hat, for example, on certain building sites. Of course, it’s down to the employer to provide training, but if you’re unclear on any aspect of the health and safety regulations, it’s a good idea to ask. Likewise, in customer-facing roles, you may be expected to wear company uniform and dress respectably.
A study has shown that the average worker slacks off for around 50 minutes per day. However, if you’ve just started a new job, this is the last thing you should do if you want to make it through a probationary period. If anything, you should be putting in 110% during your first few months, so your boss has the peace of mind of knowing that when the company hired you, they made the right decision
However, if you do find you’ve been let go for any reason, it’s good to know that Zoek is there when it comes to your next job search.
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