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Will I Fit in the Modern Office?

Today’s office is very different from the workplace of your parents’ day. Companies and organizations have moved away from a one-size-fits-all traditional office environment. Transformations occurred that affect what employees wear, how they work, where they work, and how their performance is measured. The days of suits and ties, boxy offices, and lots and lots of paper are numbered. Whether you want to advance at your current company or start in a whole new entry-level office career, you’ll need to know: Will you fit in the modern office? Here are a few things to consider.

Technology and Data

All modern offices rely on computers and technology. If you’re not up-to-speed on the basics of word processing and data entry, you’ll need to become familiar with them right away. You’ll need to be comfortable with computers and online communication; email to start, but you may also be asked to attend a conference call, pop onto remote meetings, or share your computer screen. The more you use computers now, the better you’ll feel when you enter an office.

Another norm in a modern office is the collection and use of data. Whether your company provides products or services, it probably wants to know what is selling and to whom. That’s where data come in. If you can connect some basic dots of information technology, you’ll be a valuable asset to any company. For example, let’s say you work at a factory where they manufacture some fancy widget. If you work in the office and can help the boss figure out where you sell the most of them, that’s some important info! Inventory, sales, billing—all that is tracked with the help of software today. And although specific industries will have their own technology, don’t worry. Your comfort level with one type of program is often transferrable to many.

Open and Dynamic Spaces

More and more businesses have open floor plans. Companies like to encourage creativity and collaboration, so they opt for desks and open spaces instead of small offices and cubicles. Organizations also realize that an open floor plan means more people in less space. And they allow for better employee engagement, open communication, and the spread of ideas. Another surprise you might find is the standing desk, or a flexible computer stand that lets you choose between sitting and standing. Many employees like the health benefit of getting up off their chairs frequently during the day.

What Does It Mean to Dress for Success?

In years past, this phrase basically meant if you dressed up, you’d be more likely to advance in your career. Put on a power suit, perhaps a tie, brush your hair, and you’ll achieve all you set out to. Not every industry, though, adheres to this kind of dress ideal anymore. In fact, many encourage employees not to. Formal suits for both men and women are often saved for special occasions or important clients. And forget about insisting that women wear dresses; you can’t. Business casual is common, with some organizations allowing jeans on Friday. What you will be required to wear varies depending on the industry, company, and even location.

Remote Work and Flexibility

Once you’ve been with a company for a while, you may be given the option to occasionally work from home. Some companies even rely on remote staff. Did you know that even in healthcare, there are telemed positions? That’s where you’d help patients using video conferences and phone calls. Digital operations in business, healthcare, and IT can sometimes be done online. While your job may be in the office, you may need to get used to the idea of working with staff all over the country—and even the world.

Performance Measurement and Assessment

In the old days, office workers often answered to a single boss. Good if you got along with him or her. Not so good if your personalities clashed. That’s because that one person decided whether or not to give you a good review. Today, you’ll still answer to a boss, but your performance should be graded using clearer assessment and metrics. Let’s say you’re in customer service. You answer phones and help solve problems. Technology will determine just how satisfied those customers are. If all your customers are happy, while your co-worker’s are frustrated, your boss will know. All that information is charted and recorded. With enough positive data on your side, it might be time to ask for a raise!


If the modern work environment sounds like the place you want to be, start learning the ropes at Charter College. Charter College prepares students for entry level jobs in a variety of fields. We offer classroom and online learning, and a combination of both so you can learn remotely and during times that best fit your schedule. Fill out the form now to receive additional information.