If you’ve never worked in an office before, the prospect of stepping into one for the first time and then spending the rest of the week, month, year, or even longer there can be a potentially frightening idea. This is probably not helped by the stories you’ve heard, whether from friends who’ve been tormented by their bosses or TV shows and movies depicting overworked employees slaving away in a tiny cubicle.
The reality, of course, is usually not that bad. Here are five tips to help you adjust to life in the office:
Be friendly, but not too friendly
It’s a fine line to tread, but if you’re the new girl or guy in the office place, it really doesn’t hurt to start off by making that extra effort to be friendly. This means greeting people in the elevator, smiling when you walk past, and replacing the paper in the printer when there’s no more. You might also like to help clear the sink or wipe that mess on the kitchen bench. It doesn’t mean you’re the cleaner, but a little extra effort to show that you care about your workplace will go a long way.
Be punctual and responsive
Punctuality is key when it comes to a new job regardless of whether it is in an office or not. Remember that your superiors will take note of your entry and exit times, especially towards the start, so it’s wise for you to imprint in them a good impression of you by being punctual at all times. This means if you’re late, you better ditch that coffee cup before you walk in. It also means being responsive, so make sure you keep your emails in order and your phone on for that emergency call.
Be there even if you want to leave
This doesn’t mean being the last to leave the office place, but if you’re new to work, it probably doesn’t help your image if you’re always the first to leave. Of course, there will be times where you have an appointment that you can’t adjust for, but if at all possible, try to give your maximum time to work, at least in the first month or two that you’re there. And when you do stay overtime, remember to do it with all your heart. If you’re only there half-heartedly, you might as well not be there at all.
Be mindful and perceptive
Have questions to ask? Maybe leave your superior a note instead of bothering them right at that moment when it’s clear they have another hundred things to do. Is another colleague looking like they are about to fall asleep around an hour after lunch? Best not to ask them anything too difficult either. Basically, you could encounter any kind of temper in the office place. Being perceptive and giving people space will go a long way to helping you avoid the worst of it at all costs.
Be social when times call for it
Again, there’s a fine line to draw here, and it really depends on whether your office place is the kind where people will go out for lunch together or whether the culture may be one where everybody buys take out and resumes business over lunch. This is something you should gauge on your first day or perhaps even try to find out beforehand. If people do go out for lunch, join them!
Image credit Cheap photos
Isabella Clarke is a university student and freelance writer who is interested in career management. You might find her looking up anything from holiday houses to top stocks in her spare time!
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