n my previous post, I highlighted five things you can do to be more professional at work. In this article, I outline some similar tips, but from a different angle.

These five behaviours are things that may be acceptable outside the workplace, but while you're at work - and trying to be professional - you should eliminate these if you do them.

Listening to Music

You might like to listen to music at your desk, whether it's on your iPod or through your computer. It might help you relax, concentrate, or help you work better in some way.

However, having headphones on isn't usually a good idea, as you come across as being unapproachable. Other people will see you have headphones in, and regardless of the volume, it makes them think you don't want them to come up to you.

If you don't have headphones on, and are playing music straight out of the computer speakers - that's even worse! Regardless of the music tastes of your co-workers, they don't want to hear music coming from your computer when you're trying to work.

Loud Phone Calls

Making phone calls is part of the job. You will often need to place and receive calls during your working day. When you're on the phone, though, talking in a voice so loud that people on the other end of the office can hear you is not very professional. Well, that may be an exaggeration, but there is a difference between an appropriate level to talk on the phone and talking too loud. Not everyone needs to hear the conversation you're having.

If it's an argument, or a heated discussion, this may be an exception as they (hopefully) won't happen very often.

Keeping your voice to an appropriate level is something that will be appreciated by the rest of the office.

Personal Calls at Your Desk

Everyone accepts that there is a life outside your work. You may have family and friends outside work and there are times you'll need to speak to them during work hours. Or, you may need to make calls or other reasons that aren't related to work - calling your mechanic, making doctor's appointments, calling restaurants.

It portrays a better image if you make these calls away from your desk. Go to a meeting room, go to the kitchen, take your mobile and walk around the office, whatever you can do to get away from the desk.

This is because your manager and co-workers expect you to do work at your desk. Making calls or doing tasks other than this (such as browsing the internet) sends the message that you're slacking off - even if you're call is very important.


No matter what your conversations are like with your friends or people outside of work, swearing in the workplace is a bad idea. It's crude, vulgar, and above all, not very professional.

You may have received a piece of news that doesn't help your current project. You may have realised you're going to miss a deadline. There may be other cases where a quick drop of a swear word might seem appropriate. It usually isn't. Keep it civil and think before you speak. Swearing in the workplace isn't professional.

Bad Hygiene

Dirty clothes, bad breath, bad odour, messy hair - these are all traits than should not be used to describe you when you're at work. Take some pride in your appearance and it'll be recognised by both your co-workers and your managers.

If people can tell you have bad breath, or your clothes are dirty or unwashed, it does look - you guessed it - unprofessional. Make sure your hair is done well before you leave for work. It sounds basic, but brush your teeth, make sure your clothes are ironed and clean, put on some antiperspirant and give yourself a quick check in the mirror to see if you're looking presentable. You want to be sending the message to your boss that you pay attention to detail and are comfortable in yourself and your work.

Hope these tips have indicated what not to do in your workplace. Leave a comment if you have any other tips on things that are unprofessional!

For more tips and ideas on how you can improve your career in IT, visit http://www.completeitprofessional.com.

Author's Bio: 

Complete IT Professional - a website that teaches people how to become better IT professionals. Improve your professionalism. Get promoted. Make more money.
Written by Ben Brumm