The workplace environment has really changed since the time our daddies (and some mommies) used to work in their cubbyholes. That was the time when people knew just a handful of people from their place of work and a still fewer people were so close that they could be invited home for a dinner. But today, the workplace is more of a community center; there's a lot more going on in every office than mere work. And, that is where ethics in the workplace become all the more important. It is not just enough to get into the good books of your employers, but it is also extremely imperative to be comfortable with one's colleagues and even the subordinates.
Obviously, workplace ethics will differ from one employment location to another. However, there are some ground similarities that can be observed. Based on this, we can formulate some 'safe' rules that would work for almost every work ambiance. So, here are some work ethics commandments.
The First Commandment - Thou shalt not criticize thy boss
This is one workplace ethic that has remained sacrosanct over the ages. The boss is always right. Yeah, he might be an insufferable lout, but as long as you are working with him, he is always right. The most judicious employee will remain in the boss's good books. Today, bosses are becoming more accessible to their employees and prefer taking inputs from them as well. So, keep your mouth shut until asked. Also, do not malign your boss or indulge in back biting in the office cafeteria.
The Second Commandment - Thou shalt not rub thy colleagues the wrong way
Gone are the days when people were not even interested in knowing what was going on in their next cubicle. Today, you cannot avoid befriending your colleagues at your workplace. Just be sure that you do not indulge in activities that create a bad impression of yourself on your colleagues. Folks at work can hamper your own prospects nowadays. Put in a genuine good word when they deserve it, and do not criticize when they err. That way you will never go wrong.
The Third Commandment - Thou shalt not comment on thy colleagues' personal affairs
Respect your colleagues' private space and they will respect yours. Do not read their personal chats over their shoulder and do not be interested in their mail that is directed to the workplace. Even if a colleague breaks out about their family affairs or romantic shenanigans with you, try not to be overzealous in offering advice. In all probability, your colleagues may not want a nanny and may just want a set of ears to listen to their monkeyshines.
The Fourth Commandment - Thou shalt not compare thyself with thy colleagues
This breach of ethics in the workplace has happened ever since Cain and Abel started farming for their father Adam. In the machinery of your workplace, all employees are differently-sized cogs in the wheel. Every one has been assigned a post in the company because of some unique talent. That means, you should not compare yourself with how others work. Don't ever begin cribbing with your employers when someone gets a promotion and you don't. It will certainly happen with you if you deserve it.
The Fifth Commandment - Thou shalt not be a nosey parker
In today's workplace environment, one of the biggest work ethics is to keep your nose stuck in your own affairs. Do not involve yourself in assignments meant for others, and never show off that you can do a particular job better than them. Instead, try excelling in the work assigned to you. If you show off your superiority to others, your colleagues will think of you as too pompous, and your boss might even reprimand you for not sticking to your own work.
The Sixth Commandment - Thy attire shalt speak for itself
The workplace garb has changed drastically in recent times, and the Friday jeans have come into the weekdays too. But, that doesn't mean you will dress up like a pantaloon to work. Let your attire match your status, and do not break the dress code of work; however, flimsy it might be. Your dress code helps when you are dealing with outside clients. Wearing a semi-formal attire is what one must stick to.
The Seventh Commandment - Thou shalt not bring thy family in thy workplace
It is ridiculous to speak about your family to your colleagues. Everyone has a family and they are most interested in what happens with their folks. But, it is nothing short of moronic to discuss your family woes at the workplace. An unwritten rule of workplace ethics is that you will never bring your family to visit your workplace, unless they are invited.
The Eighth Commandment - Thou shalt invite thy colleagues to thy homestead
You must keep your family out of the workplace as much as possible, but it is good work ethics to invite your colleagues over to dinner sometime. You can bond there and even do some constructive planning together. But do not be hasty and invite everyone. Take your time, understand how friendly the people in your workplace are, and then subtly begin the invitations. It is, of course, understood that you should not have any vested interests in inviting your colleagues (or superiors) over.
The Ninth Commandment - Thou shalt take credit only where it is due, and shalt not be modest then
When there's an appraisal, make sure your work gets noticed. Inform the right people that it is your work in advance so that when the time comes, you get the nod. Do not be crass about it, though. A subtle approach is required to make your presence felt in the workplace. At the same time, you should always acknowledge your subordinates' good work, especially if they are creative people working for you. Creative minds work better when fed on praise. And that works both ways.
The Tenth Commandment - Thou shalt always keep thyself informed
The final rule of ethics in the workplace is to always be informed about what is going on in your business. It does not pay if you are the one always sitting mute below the corner in the front office, or if you are the one dozing shamelessly, when a business talk is going on.
People will think funny about you if you suddenly pop up and ask them about what's going on. If you are informed about your workplace affairs, it will also help you to behave better and put up a generally good impression at the workplace.