When it comes to life events, starting a new job ranks high on the stress scale. Will other employees like you? Can you handle the work? Are you going to make a fool of yourself?
Relax. Every other employee in your new office has been in your shoes. There are some basic rules to help make the first day at a new job run smoothly –– along with all other days after that.
Follow office etiquette
It’s even more important to respect other people’s space in the office than it is at home, where family might be more forgiving. Try to be mindful of the noise you make, especially in open office environments. Similarly, try to silence your devices so that the whole office doesn’t have to listen to your Mission Impossible ringtone. Consider using shared facilities respectfully, cleaning up after yourself in the kitchen and not hogging the restroom.
Be a good digital citizen
How you act in cyberspace is just as important as how you act in your physical surroundings. Try to follow basic etiquette in email and online fora. Consider keeping the tone of your online communications professional and limit the scope of your conversation by thinking twice before hitting ‘reply all’. This is especially important in corporate environments where you may not always directly meet the people you’re interacting with online.
Listen and learn
Rather than grandstanding to try and make a name for themselves, the most effective new employees learn about the team dynamic and the company culture by watching and listening. Consider learning the tone of team conversation and workplace customs so that you don’t get yourself a name for all the wrong reasons.
There’s nothing wrong with keeping a personal notebook to remind you of everyone’s names (and to remember that Cindy in accounts really likes Boston Creams when you volunteer for the doughnut run on Friday!).
Be a team player
Your fortunes in the office may depend largely on how you enable and empower others. That means viewing everyone else’s success as your success, even if you don’t always get credit from the higher-ups. If you see a chance to help someone and make their job easier, try to take it. Likewise, acknowledge the contributions of others. And as a team member, never participate in gossip.
You can quickly develop a reputation for reliability by always doing what you say you’ll do, and not doing what you say you won’t do. Integrity in a workplace environment means owning your mistakes and fixing them rather than blaming others. Try to be the person who stops the buck, not the one who passes it.
Get to know your coworkers
One of the biggest mistakes a new employee can make is turning down happy hour. Social occasions are where you really get to know your fellow employees, and to give them a chance to get to know you. You can be vivacious and fun but give people the chance to talk about themselves.
Is social anxiety a problem? That’s ok. Let your colleagues know privately, and then go along to the event anyway. You’ll be surprised how endearing this can be, and how a simple explanation can break the ice.
These basic tips can help ease your transition to a new office and ensure that you become the life and soul of the team, rather than the person that other people fall silent around.
About the Author
Danny Bradbury has been writing about technology and business since 1989. His clients have included the Financial Times, the Guardian, and Canada's National Post.
All content provided herein is for educational purposes only. It is provided “as is” and neither the author nor Office Depot, Inc. warrant the accuracy of the information provided, nor do they assume any responsibility for errors, omissions or contrary interpretation of the subject matter herein.
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