Believe it or not, workplace strife is one of the highest causes of stress at home. It is challenging enough without having to deal with a bad atmosphere in the office and then bring it back to dump on your partner! The office is just an extension of the school playground with the cool kids and the in-crowd overshadowing those that can be shy and introverted. If you are the new kid on the block you may not feel you share any common ground with your co-workers . Perhaps you may even get the impression that they are treating you like an outsider. Apart from reaching out and making friends with your colleagues – remember, like it or not, a third of your day or more will be spent with these people – studies have shown that making friends at work makes you more motivated, productive and ultimately more loyal to the company you work for.
We have put together these top tips for making your early days in the office as smooth and as painless as possible.
Understanding the Culture of the Company
Don’t make assumptions about how the office runs. Watch and learn. Is there a communal morning tea? Is lunch hour really an hour? How is your smoking going to be received? Are more than regular coffee breaks frowned upon? Does everyone leave at 5 o’clock sharp? Are you expected to take personal phone calls away from your desk? Every working environment has their own nuances and you will need to work out which ones are a prerequisite, what is actually acceptable and those that just don’t mesh.
Get to Know your Co-workers
First things first, get to know and remember the names of your colleagues. Their job titles would also be useful, but it is more important to get their names right first! Nobody expects you to remember everyone on your first day as your whole experience of a new workplace will be totally overwhelming. A great way of getting to know people quickly, is asking them how they ended up at the company and how long they have been there. Their reaction and story will tell you a lot about the person and help you remember their name and position.
Try to be Yourself
The old adage of being polite and smiling will go a long way in your first few days. You don’t need to be anything you’re not,so simply try and make a grand first impression. After all you got the job in the first place by being yourself, why change now? Hopefully, you are going to be there for the long haul, so people are going to get to see the real you sooner rather than later – unless you want a different persona in the office? Who are we to stop that?
Not only is constant negativity one of the most unattractive personality traits, it generally only ever brings out the worst in people. Predicting the worst possible outcome will bring down team morale and be detrimental to productivity. Work life is never going to be perfect, but it really is a chore being around negative people. Being a continual complainer very rarely leads to any positive change around the office. When you are constantly looking for bad things, you forget to appreciate what actually works well and this leads to a general malaise in your attitude and productivity.
Be a Team Player
You actually do need to do what is expected to fit in and be part of the team – even if you think you work better on your own. If you don’t make an effort to be a working cog in the machine, others may view you as a threat to that smooth process. They may even get resentful towards you as they may feel they will have to work harder to make up for your deficiencies. The best way to fit in at work is to make sure you have your colleagues’ backs and to let them know you are there for them if they need you. Chances are that they will never ask you, but at least you offered!!!
Watch your Sense of Humour!
Some things you might think are funny, possibly won’t be to others. Your sense of humour is very personal and it may take a little time for your co-workers to get used to it. Don’t be too racy or edgy as those first impressions will last a lifetime in your colleagues’ eyes! Once you have worked out boundaries, then you can knock yourself out!
The hard part is over. You got through the application and interview process and you’ve made it into the workforce. Try to be professional and realise that your time will come. Before you know it, you will become a trusted and valued member of the team and part of the office furniture.