Having a strong work ethic involves upholding the values and goals of the company by performing your job to the best of your ability. It means focusing on completing assigned tasks on time.
An employee with a strong work ethic is professional in attitude and appearance. They honor their employment agreement by working the required hours, which may involve overtime to meet deadlines. They also understand the significance of how their role fits within the company. While they are primarily focused on performing their role, their main focus is helping their company succeed.
However, not all employees display a strong work ethic naturally. Some may have difficulty focusing for extended periods of time and have trouble prioritizing their work. They may get sidelined creating unnecessary paperwork such as spreadsheet schedules, memos, and lists that end up lost on a desk riddled with stacks of paper. This lack of focus on main tasks can complicate an otherwise efficient process for meeting deadlines.
How to Display a Strong Work Ethic
An employee who displays a strong work ethic does the following:
- Shows up on time, every day. A responsible employee determines their commute time, including any possible delays, to ensure they arrive at work at or before 9:00 am. Arrive 5-10 minutes early to get coffee, turn on your computer, and settle into your workday.
- Does what needs to be done. A person with a strong work ethic will tackle the less pleasant tasks as well as the interesting ones. This employee will take on any requested tasks regardless of whether it is in their job description.
- Works through bad situations. A person with a strong work ethic doesn’t call in sick because of a mild cold or bad weather. However, if an employee is really sick or there's a whiteout blizzard, they should stay home. Some employers may even suggest that the employee work from home that day.
- Gets the job done. A good work ethic means you deliver the expected finished product on the scheduled date.
Some hard-working employees don’t achieve a positive work ethic naturally. They are easily distracted and find it difficult to focus on their work, although they complete it.
How Managers View Those With a Strong Work Ethic
Most managers value employees with a strong work ethic. They reward them with raises, praise, and promotions. They give hard-working employees the best projects because they’ve earned them.
However, some managers may view hardworking employees as a resource to get additional work completed. Managers need to delegate work realistically and fairly so employees aren't overburdened and overworked. An overburdened, stressed employee may start looking for employment elsewhere.
How to Gain a Strong Work Ethic
A key to developing a strong work ethic is to discipline yourself to stay focused. Start by setting goals and removing any distractions that can sideline you from reaching them. Helpful suggestions include the following:
- Turn off your cell phone and store it in your desk drawer.
- Turn off any music and store away your earphones.
- Muffle any distracting loud conversations by wearing noise-canceling headphones or moving to a quieter area or office.
- Create a list of prioritized tasks that need to be accomplished and focus solely on that list until it is completed.
- Allow yourself a 10-minute break after all tasks are completed to recharge.
- Request additional work from your supervisor to stay focused on your job
Those with a strong work ethic not only benefit companies through their work but set examples for others to follow.
Practice focusing on completing a list of tasks daily. Be sure to minimize any distractions that can keep you from accomplishing your goals. With practice, you will develop the discipline needed to have a strong work ethic.