To put things out simply, work ethics are a set of moral principles or values that an employee abides by and uses in their job performance. It covers an employee’s behaviour and attitude towards their job, career, and the workplace. 

Work ethics is related to the productivity and success of a person. This value of ethics moulds a person into a more responsible and determined individual. It impacts all the activities of their day-to-day life. Some elements of a strong work ethic are professionalism, integrity, respect for the work and fellow teammates, timeliness, discipline and communication. 

Work ethics directly impacts the job’s quality or output. It is found that employees become more productive when they have respect for the workplace and the work they do.

The importance of working ethically in a workplace.

Ethics reinforce cooperation and respect among workers and improve workforce relationships. This increases employees’ productivity and performance. For example should a problem between co-workers arise, only arriving at the situation professionally can look to solve the issue at hand peacefully to either of the parties. Both communication and attitude  plays an important role here.  

How can ethics at work be achieved?

Rewarding, or  recognising workers who act ethically will encourage other employees to do the same. Companies and organisations could promote training and workshops on ethical dilemmas that workers may face at work. They should as well offer onboarding programmes focused on the companies’ ethics. 

The 8 central characteristics of strong employee work ethic are: 

  1. Punctuality: Respecting the value of time in the workplace
  2. Accountability: Shouldering the responsibility and holding themselves accountable for the work completed by themselves.
  3. Focus: Remaining focused and avoiding the distractions until a task is completed.
  4. Initiative: Doing something productive or useful to the company without being asked, for the betterment of the organisation. 
  5. Productivity: Productivity hinges upon an employee’s ability to overcome distractions, ignore external influences, and conquer obstacles that inhibit them from performing their task. 
  6. Professionalism: Being present in work culture, and working with teammates with respect and a professional tone and not one that is  personal. 
  7. Dedication: Consistency of high quality work and showing up ready to accomplish tasks daily.
  8. Desire to Improve: Embracing feedback and learning through mistakes shows willingness to grow.

Other important tips 

Attitude. When working with your co-workers, a great attitude is a must. Paying attention, supporting co workers, being a team player, being proactive. An attitude that looks at the positive aspects with the hopes of looking to resolve problems is a great attitude. Holding on to negative feelings or always looking at situations negatively, can put out a negative energy within your team and disrupt the relationship with the co-workers. 


Good communication in the workplace ensures employees have the information they need to perform well, it builds a positive work environment, and eliminates inefficiencies. Effective communication should accurately convey information while maintaining or improving human relationships. Effective communication can be achieved by paying attention to nonverbal clues such as tone and body language.

Another great way to improve on communication is by listening. As Communication goes both ways, active listening by internalising what is being said and paying attention to the intent and emotion behind what you’re being told is important. As a response, provide constructive feedback. Being a part of a team means everybody’s work and responsibilities should be respected. If you’re providing feedback, keep a balance between what’s working and what can be improved. Finally, the most important key in communication is to be polite. Even though a co-worker may be angry, being polite can ease the situation.


Professionalism is a measure of how well you carry yourself at work, how you treat coworkers and how you handle stressful situations.By showing professional behaviour at work, you’ll earn more respect from your colleagues.A good measure of how professional you are is how approachable you are to other colleagues. Another way to show you are professional is by being accountable. One true sign to show professionalism is being able to show accountability for mistakes. Holding yourself accountable for the mistakes you make and following up with what can be done to improve the current process that will prevent that mistake from happening again.

Lastly, Remain calm under stress. There’s nothing more inspiring to the people around you than showing how calm you can be while a storm of deadlines, pressures and ever-increasing demands swirling around. These are the times to rely on your ability to be a leader and demonstrate professionalism. Hastily finishing things, sloppy work, and spending too little time planning, leads to low quality work. A strong work ethic means setting a standard of excellence for yourself, which means doing your job to the best of your ability.

Be careful not to fall into the workaholic trap when trying to build a strong work ethic. Exercise, eat nutritious food, and get enough sleep. Keep your priorities right, and review your overall life balance at the end of the day. Regular exercise is not only good for the body, but it stimulates the mind as well. Find some vigorous exercises that force you to push yourself. This will help you gradually improve and develop a step-by-step mindset, which you can apply to develop strong work ethics.