Campus blog: Office etiquette for a workplace of the future

By Laura Perry

Business Technology Analyst, Consulting | Summer 2014 Co-op

In Consulting, you quickly learn that your laptop is your greatest lifeline. We are in a time when you can not only pick up a phone and speak to someone across the country or globe, but you can videotape them, share your screen and run through an entire presentation with anyone anywhere! To help you quickly adapt to this new working style, I’ve outlined some of my greatest lessons below.

Have your headset ready

I answer calls on my laptop daily, and if my headset isn’t set up, it can be quite the hassle. My manager made a comment about how every time he called me he expected to hear one full minute of just random noise and fumbling as I plugged in my headset and got it on my head. Now plugging in my headset is done at the same time I open my computer, and I never answer the call until it is on my head. No one likes fumbling noises in their ear for a full minute, so I learned quickly.

Learn how to address people

You will quickly start to gauge your relationship with different colleagues, but if you don’t know for sure, always air on the professional side when answering calls. I was critiqued by a manager because I would jump into the conversation too abruptly. Even if you know exactly what the conversation is going to be about, a quick “how are you?” never hurts.

Know when to speak up

Sometimes it can be difficult to know if I should jump in with my opinion as I feel I may be interrupting someone about to speak. This can be a typical issue on conference calls, but understanding your purpose for the call will help. If I’m speaking with two other interns, jumping in and giving my opinion is needed and I should not hesitate. On the other hand, if you’re on a call with a manager or partner, and they have invited you to “listen in,” think twice about interrupting anyone.

Take notes

Being on a conference call can sometimes be very hard to follow, especially when you’re the one person who had to call into a room full of people. The biggest advice I can give for this situation is to take notes. It can be very easy to stop listening when the conversation is hard to follow, but the last thing you want is an email from a manager or partner asking for a recap and you have to say you zoned out.

These tips are from my experience, and I really hope they help you in any future placement, whether it’s at Deloitte or elsewhere.

Laura is a fourth year student at the Ivey Business School completing a dual degree in Software Engineering and Honors Business Administration.

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