Accepting a new job offer is an exciting and rewarding thing to do. It can feel like a weight lifted off your chest, or it can seem like a stepping stone towards settling into a brand new office, with new faces and new unwritten rules. But starting a new job shouldn’t be a completely nerve-wracking experience, and most workplaces are incredibly welcoming to new colleagues — everyone has to start somewhere, right?
Making the transition as smooth as possible is all about your own approach and mindset. Thinking of yourself as an outsider will make you one. Have a read of these tips to see how you can spend your first day, week or month making a solid impression and enjoying yourself along the way.
Put yourself out there
As daunting as it may sound, on your first few days all eyes are on you. It is therefore important to be as outgoing as possible rather than hiding away in a corner. If you’re an introvert, don’t panic, just choose a few people to focus on building a relationship with until you find your feet. Ask somebody you’ve crossed paths with a couple of times to lunch or out for a coffee. Building a trusting friendship with one or two people in your first week could really help you to feel more at home in the new office, and these social ties also boost productivity.
On the professional side, make sure you know what you’re expected to be doing and ask questions whenever you get stuck — which may be quite often at first! Research suggests that new employees perform better when they ask more questions. So this is a definite key to success and fitting in during the first few days and weeks. Your colleagues will be impressed by your attitude and motivation if you show engagement with your tasks and the people around you.
Amongst colleagues, introduce yourself until it makes your head hurt. Don’t always wait until someone approaches you themselves, although be sure to pick the right moment and not go interrupting any meetings to introduce yourself to someone. Repeat people’s names when they tell you so that you remember them and show interest. Ask questions about them and their roles, as well as any advice they may have for new employees in the office. They will most likely be more than happy to help you, as they will have all been in the same situation at some point.
Keep up to date with your office’s social calendar as well, even something as small as going for lunch can really help you to build relationships and become integrated in your new office family. Psychologists theorise that socialising with colleagues contributes towards an enjoyable working experience. It could also reduce stress in the workplace as you become more familiar and comfortable around your colleagues, within reason of course.
Write everything down
One of the golden rules for starting any new position at any seniority level. Write every single thing down, if you can. This could be a person’s name, their position, how to operate the photocopier, your boss’ favourite drink, you name it. There is evidence to suggest that the physical act of writing things down exercises and boosts our working memory.
Keep meeting notes filed and organised and make sure you always have a notepad close by. Reviewing your notes regularly will help commit to memory the high volume of information you may be learning within the first few days or weeks.
Don’t expect to be part of the furniture after the first day, or to get everything right immediately. Office and job changes always have transition periods and you will most likely not learn everything straight away. However, your colleagues will notice and appreciate your efforts to absorb information and integrate yourself. A study found that 72% of survey participants took two to three months before they felt fully comfortable in their new workplace, so embrace the process and accept that there will be challenges along the way.
Talk to your boss
It’s important to build a relationship with your new boss and to prove to them why they hired you. Try to get a meeting with them in your first week and talk through your responsibilities and objectives. Make sure you are clear on your specific roles and, if not, ask questions!
Balance is key
In order to make a good first impression, try to cover all the bases. Pay attention to your workload as well as the social side of office life. The benefits of socialising with colleagues suggest a job needs to be more than just working. Getting a good balance between the two can contribute to your overall enjoyment and productivity at your new job, whilst also gaining you some solid, trustworthy friendships.
Written by Emily Wright
Emily is a media graduate and a keen writer. She enjoys exploring topics such as mental health and social politics, with a particular interest for how new technology can affect both mental and physical wellbeing.