Before we even start talking about the characteristics of a proper work ethic, it is incredibly important for us to understand what a work ethic is.

To efficiently spell out what a proper work ethic is, people have ascribed several definitions to the term. Some of those definitions are much more difficult to understand and learn than others. As such, we won’t be boring you with those.

But, in the simplest way possible, work ethic refers to a set of principles that an individual uses to guide their actions at work. It is essentially a worker’s code of conduct. 

Now, these ethics truly differ from one person to another as different people have varying codes of conduct. However, these five are the most basic elements you’ll find in a proper work ethic:

  1. Punctuality

There really is no need to define this as you already know it means keeping to time. Any employee or member of the labour force, generally, with a proper work ethic is punctual. Not only to the office but to meetings and important conversations as well. The reason is simple. Tardiness affects overall productivity. Prolonged tardiness could even cost businesses thousands in revenue as it equals a reduction in hours spent at work. 

  1. Integrity

At the very core of any proper work ethic is integrity. It guides how you choose to deal with customers and even your coworkers. This code of conduct is especially important in such professions as medicine, where they have to keep the details of their patients to themselves. If you lack integrity at your place of work, your work ethic is highly questionable.

  1. Productivity 

Making an effort is excellent and commendable. However, one of the true measures of a great worker is his level of productivity. Keep in mind that productivity is different from just being busy. A person with a proper work ethic will be result-oriented and constantly focused on being productive, instead of just doing things. 

  1. Focus and dedication 

Some might say that these two are entirely different. But, they are actually two peas in a pod. When you are focused, you are able to keep your mind trained on something for a particular period. It could be on something as simple as a proposal that needs to be completed by day’s end. Alongside that, when you are dedicated, you turn that focus into a daily thing that transcends menial tasks and extends to your entire job description for several months on end. 

  1. Professionalism

Professionalism is the act of being appropriate to a profession. It entails taking your job seriously, and it is one of the basic elements of a proper work ethic. As a professional, you should be able to discern between the time for casual exchanges and serious work. Also, you should be able to perform without excuses and whatnot.


Cultivating a proper work ethic is incredibly rewarding. Besides making you better and more efficient at your job, it keeps your employees impressed with you and, to a large extent, guarantees job security. Start practicing it today!


ALSO READ  13 Tips on How to Be a Star Performer