The workplace has a number of rules in place so that things work efficiently. When you commence work you will usually have what is called an ‘induction’. This is where another person will talk to you about what is required of you at work and you may be given a manual for you to look at as well. Other new information is usually displayed on notice boards for everyone to see, sent via an email memo or discussed at a staff meeting.
Your Intellectual Disability(ID) whether it be mild, moderate or severe means that you will most likely experience some challenges in understanding these. So let’s have a look at some of these etiquette rules and how you can be manage them:
- Being on time- make sure you arrive at work on time and return from your breaks on time
- Topics of conversation at break times- get to know your co-workers by listening to them and the things they talk about. Many people do not like to discuss money, politics, religion, sexual differences and sometimes do not want to discuss their family life
- Body language- be careful not to stand too close to people when talking
- Facial expressions- people’s faces often tell you that they are angry or upset and you need to be able to read these and respond appropriately
- Sickness- if you are sick then you need to phone your boss and let them know you will not be at work that day
- Other absences- if a member of your family needs you and you can’t go to work, again you need to phone and let your boss know that you cannot come to work that day
- Personal hygiene and grooming- it is expected that everyone comes to work clean and tidy and wearing the appropriate clothing for the job
If you are having difficulty with any of these workplace expectations, you may wish to tell your boss about your disability so that they can help you to understand what is going on. Also talk with your family and friends as they will be able to help you make sense of these rules and give you some strategies to manage.