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Questionnaire: How Much Do You Know About the Modern Workplace?

By: Maggie Lonsdale BA (hons) - Updated: 28 Apr 2012 | comments*Discuss
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If you’ve been away from the workplace for a while it can seem as though it is a completely different environment that you’ll never get used to. Like any group or club, workplaces have their own little rules and cultures, some of which are specific to that workplace and others which are general to all.

Now that you’re thinking about going back to work, why don’t you take some time to think about how much you know about the modern workplace? If you’re feeling a little nervous about returning to work because you’re not quite sure what environment you will face when you start, this is the questionnaire for you. Read the questions, note the answer that best matches how you feel and then read the results to see how you can improve your understanding of the modern workplace.

Email Etiquette

Pretty much everyone uses email now, both for social and professional purposes. In the modern workplace, email is used for keeping colleagues up to date with projects, meetings and company developments. How much do you know about using email at work?

  1. I’ve only just got to grips with text messaging! I don’t really use email at home as the kids are always on the computer. Hopefully someone will explain it to me in my new job.
  2. I’m pretty good with emailing and I always end with LOL and a few kisses to keep it friendly.
  3. I am always on my BlackBerry and send dozens of emails everyday.

Mobile Etiquette

Everyone has a mobile. We’ve moved on from the days of everyone putting their mobiles on the table in the pub, but how much do you know about using your mobile in the office?

  1. I’ve got that ringtone like the Dom Joly character with the massive mobile and every time it rings at work I answer it by saying, “HELLO?! I’m in the OFFICE!’ My new colleagues will think I’m hilarious.
  2. My friends, family and the childminder tend to call or text me through the day to keep in touch about the kids, what to have for dinner and plans for the weekend.
  3. I only have my mobile on silent when I’m at work and try not to use it unless it’s urgent.

Work Life Balance

The words ‘work life balance’ may not have been in common usage last time you worked in the office environment as it’s a relatively new concept to make sure that we’re not all work and no play. Although employers are keen to get the most out of their employees, they also understand that a balanced employee is a happy employee nowadays.

  1. I try to make my dentist or doctor’s appointments in the middle of the morning so that I can have a lie in – that gives me a good work life balance.
  2. I make sure I go to the gym at lunch time at least twice a week, I take a break to eat my sandwiches and I don’t work late unless I absolutely have to.
  3. I’ve requested a month long sabbatical so that I can help build an orphanage in Mongolia and I will set up a video link so that my employers can track my progress. When I return, I will give them a detailed slide show.


If you answered mainly 1), you have some way to go before you are ready for the modern workplace! However, all is not lost. Speak to friends that work in the type of environment that you hope to and ask their advice on what you can expect. A mobile ringing loudly is a bit of a no-no, as is coming in late unless you have a very good reason and you really ought to brush up on your IT skills – try the library for a free course.

If you answered mainly 2), you’re nearly there! It might be a good idea to step up the professionalism with your communication a little though – what’s good for an email or text to your friend is not appropriate for your boss. Drop the kisses for a start.

If you answered mainly 3), you may be a little uptight for the modern workplace, although this is preferable to being unprofessional. It may work in some strict, traditional workplaces, but if you’re looking for a creative role, you need to relax just a little.

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