Tips and Best Office Practices

Note: Contact your supervisor to see if there are policies and procedures unique to your department!

  • Arrive at work on time or a few minutes early, if possible. (This allows you to get settled)
  • Always look presentable in your attire; please check with your supervisor about the dress code.
  • Ask your supervisor about what you should do if you are unable to work your scheduled shift or if you will be late:
    • Who do I contact if I am unable to work?
    • Can I e-mail or call if I am unable to work?
    • Do you need a doctor's excuse if I am sick for an extended period?
    • If I am late for my shift, who do I call?
    • Can I make up any hours I have missed?
    • If there is a family emergency I need to leave campus, who should I contact?
  • Check with your supervisor on the following topics:
    • Can I eat or drink while working?
    • Can I listen to an MP3 player while working?
    • Can I have my cell phone while working, in case of emergency? Should the sound on my phone be off?
    • If all my tasks are done, can I work on homework?
    • What is the policy for internet use?
  • Review your job description.
  • Request training (if not offered) on unfamiliar duties. Ask questions if you are unsure of anything!
  • Make sure your work area is organized when you leave. This will allow anybody to find things in your absence at your work space.
  • If you are working on a project and did not finish before your shift is up, please let your supervisor know. This way other student workers can finish the project.
  •  Don't be afraid to ask for additional tasks or responsibilities, if your assigned tasks are complete.

Good Office Practices

  • Have Written Instructions/Requests for tasks
  • Return the completed work assignment with the original instructions, and place a check mark and your initials to indicate completion.
  • Make good notes on the instruction sheet to indicate your progress and any follow-up required.
  • Typewritten Work:
    • When given something to type/revise return the original document attached to the typed document.
    • Proofread your work before and after printing.
    • Save your document every 5-10 minutes. Do not rely on auto-save!
  • Copies:
    • Always make sure the copy is legible and no part of the original document was cut off. Darken copies as needed, especially receipts.
    • Always look for double-sided originals, and make sure to copy both sides.
    •  Remember to remove originals from the glass.
  • Addressing Interoffice Mail:
    • When addressing interoffice envelopes, cross out all names on the envelope before addressing it.
    • Address all interoffice mail with: Full name, Department, and mail code: "Tom N. Jerry, Chemistry, 5003"
  • Phone Messages:
    • Write neatly
    • Record name of caller and company/organization of the caller. Make sure to get the correct spelling of the caller's name. Ask if uncertain.
    • Always record date (including year) and time (including am/pm) of the call.
    • Verify the phone number with the caller. Repeat to confirm.
    • Write a brief statement as to what the call is in reference to.
  • Security Awareness:
    • Place purses, wallets, backpacks in a secure area; preferably in a locked cabinet or drawer.
    • Do not leave office unattended without locking it. If you leave your office, even for a few minutes, lock the door behind you.
    • Pay attention to unoccupied areas. If you notice that someone is away from their desk, secure the area for them.
    • Guide wandering visitors to appropriate area.
    • Report suspicious individuals or incidents.