First impressions count. That’s a mantra that every successful business professional knows and has embraced.
You have seven seconds to make a good first impression and no second chance to redo your presentation. According to the halo effect, the human brain judges information sequentially, meaning that your first impression will dictate how you’re perceived and responded to later on.
To make a lasting first impression and keep up the professional image, you need to learn how to handle yourself in a business environment. From dressing for success to aligning your aspirations, UK fashion retailer Dune London has put together a few tips to help you master the routine of the professional in you.
Guard yourself up for a great start at your new job or an opportunity to step ahead at work in the new year.
Ace your professional image
How you dress can make a great deal of impact on how people perceive you and form opinions about your abilities and personality.
Recently, the professional dress code has been undergoing some changes. While a suit and tie might have been considered classic work attire a few years back, today, IT companies such as Google and Twitter are introducing a new trend. They are taking a more relaxed approach to workplace dressing and are pioneering in wearing hoodies, jeans, and trainers to work.
Nevertheless, professional work attire hasn’t gone out of fashion. In fact, it is becoming more polished and sophisticated than ever with the new fashion trends being woven into the business dress code in line with the emerging fashion trends.
For women, 2023 brings power pants matched with power blazers to the workplace. Floral prints are also having their moment, and a particular colour is emerging as a trend – beige. For your accessories, pearls dominated the scene in 2022 and the craze will continue into 2023. Alongside the classic stilettos and heeled boots, loafers are also a popular choice of footwear amongst women.
In terms of menswear, tailored suits are seeing renewed popularity. Light suits, which have previously been equated with summer weddings, are also entering the businesswear scene. The footwear silhouettes that will be seen in formal men’s fashion feature clean and timeless designs, such as men’s loafers in browns and brogues that elevate the suit look.
Before you decide how to dress for your workplace, be sure to read the room. If there is no set dress code available, make sure you do your research, speak with fellow colleagues, or ask your line manager for a quick brief on the dress code.
Limit your time on your phone
Scrolling mindlessly on your phone not only looks unprofessional but also harms your productivity.
A study by Vouchercloud reveals that the average UK worker spends about 2 hours and 53 minutes being productive when you take away all the distractions. One of the biggest distractors we face at work is spending time on our phones. Research shows that on average, a person spent about 147 minutes a day on social media in 2022.
When we are constantly distracted, we tend to work faster to compensate for the lost time. While this speaks highly of our ability to adapt, it comes at a cost – our stress level. When we feel pressured to complete work in a certain time frame, we raise our stress level. When this happens every day, multiple times a day, it’s likely to lead to burnout and affect our mental health.
Remember that your mobile phone is a tool, not a distraction. While it can be tempting to check your phone during the day, it can be disruptive and steal both your time and energy, leaving you feeling less focused.
If you can limit your phone usage at work, you will be equipped with better time management, less stress, and more productivity, meaning you’re more successful at your job.
Be on time
Being punctual is an indication of respect for others’ time. It also shows that you are responsible and reliable, and these are valued qualities in any professional environment. In return, it can help build trust and credibility with colleagues and clients, ultimately leading to more opportunities and success in the professional world.
Being late, on the other hand, can create a negative impression and disrupt the schedule of others, especially if you’re doing it consistently.
Arriving on time is one of the best ways to demonstrate your work professionalism and ethic and get noticed and recognised by your managers.
For extra green points, try arriving at work early. This will give you the time to prepare for the day, do some ad-hoc tasks before everyone else arrives and get you in the right mindset for success.
Set SMART goals
Speaking of getting into the right mindset, aligning yourself with your purpose and goals is key.
Whatever is happening in your inner world will be reflected in your external world and how other people see you.
Set some time aside to evaluate your goals. What are your career aspirations, where do you see yourself in five years’ time, and how are you planning on achieving that? Be your own interviewer and you will see how your vision of your work and your future is getting clearer.
Once you establish what you want to achieve, it’s time to set SMART goals: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely. Your future is laid ahead of you, and all you have to do is align with it.
Every morning, remind yourself of your goals and the reasons for wanting to achieve them. Fall in love with your job and watch success bestow you. Your positive attitude won’t get unnoticed.
Stay away from office gossip
Once you start finding your way around the office and begin making friends, it’s easy to get swept in office politics. Gossip is a virtue that is definitely not valued in the professional world.
While it’s a normal part of human communication and everyone indulges in it from time to time, the workplace is not the right setting to do so. You don’t want to be perceived as a person who gossips about everyone’s private lives.
It’s likely that you will run into gossip in the office, and when that happens, simply avoid the conversation or say that you don’t want to comment. If you’re planning on climbing up the career ladder, you need to build trust in the people around you and be impartial to personal matters.
Building a professional image at work starts from the moment you wake up when you set your intentions for the day and get ready for work. Ensure your appearance is intact and in line with your workplace dress code. Be punctual and stay away from office gossip. These little steps will help you be your best version at work and get noticed by those around you.