INTEGRATING INTO THE WORKPLACE

IF YOU’RE MOVING TO A NEW AREA FOR THIS JOB, GIVE YOURSELF AT LEAST A WEEK TO FAMILIARISE YOURSELF WITH YOUR NEW HOME BEFORE YOU START WORK. JOIN SOME CLUBS, MAKE SOME NEW FRIENDS (FLAT-SHARING IS A GOOD IDEA FOR MEETING PEOPLE AND SAVING SOME MONEY), AND TRY AND START A NETWORK OF FRIENDS SO YOU DON’T FEEL SO LOST. MAYBE EVEN ASK SOME MATES FROM BACK HOME TO COME VISIT SO YOU HAVE SOME GOOD MEMORIES IN A NEW PLACE. MOVING IS ALWAYS DIFFICULT, SO BE PATIENT AND KNOW THAT THE FIRST 6 WEEKS ARE NEVER EASY- MAKE SURE THIS JOB IS WORTH IT. IF THERE’S ANYTHING YOU CAN DO TO MAKE THIS EASIER ON YOURSELF, DO IT. EVEN IF THAT MEANS HAVING YOUR MUM SEND YOU OFF WITH A HOMEMADE CARROT CAKE TO EASE YOU THROUGH THE FIRST WEEK.

IT’S YOUR FIRST DAY AT A NEW JOB ON MONDAY.

TODAY IS SATURDAY. IF YOU HAD YOUR INTERVIEW AT YOUR NEW WORKPLACE, THINK ABOUT HOW LONG IT TOOK TO GET THERE, AND CONSIDER ANYTHING THAT MIGHT CAUSE DELAYS (ARE YOU RELIANT ON PUBLIC TRANSPORT? WHAT WOULD BE YOUR NEXT OPTION IF YOUR BUS/TRAIN IS DELAYED?)

IF YOU’RE UNSURE ABOUT THE TRAVEL TIME- MAKE A LITTLE PRACTICE TRIP TODAY TO CHECK OUT HOW DIFFICULT IT’LL BE- THIS SOUNDS BORING BUT PUNCTUALITY IS THE VERY FIRST IMPRESSION YOUR EMPLOYEE WILL HAVE OF YOU AS A WORKER. 5 MINUTES EARLY IS SEXY. 30 MINUTES IS NOT- YOU’LL BE BLINDSIDING YOUR POOR COLLEAGUES IN CHARGE OF YOUR INDUCTION DURING THEIR PRECIOUS MORNING COFFEE.

IF YOU’RE NOT SURE WHAT TO WEAR, OVERDRESS RATHER THAN UNDERDRESS. IT’S BETTER TO LOOK A BIT TOO STARCHY THAN A TAD TOO FAMILIAR. IF YOU GOT A CHANCE TO SCOPE OUT THE OFFICE DURING THE INTERVIEW, MAKE A MENTAL NOTE OF WHAT PEOPLE WERE WEARING AND TRY AND HARMONISE. WEAR COMFORTABLE SHOES. SOMETHING SMART BUT FLAT. YOU’LL REGRET HEELS IF YOU GET SENT OUT ON A RUN OF ERRANDS.

PACK A LUNCH FOR YOUR FIRST DAY. YOU’RE IN A NEW ENVIRONMENT AND LIKELY DON’T KNOW THE AREA OR PEOPLE’S ROUTINES, SO PLAY IT SAFE- YOU CAN ALWAYS LEAVE IT IN YOUR BAG IF PEOPLE ARE GOING TO A LOCAL CAFE OR POPPING TO SAINSBURYS.

BRING A NOTEBOOK AND A PEN. DURING THE FIRST FEW DAYS, IF NOT THE FIRST WEEK, THIS SHOULD BE GLUED TO YOUR HAND AT ALL TIMES. TRUST ME. THE INDUCTION MAY FEEL REPETITIVE OR OVERWHELMING, BUT THIS IS INFO YOU’LL WANT TO REFER BACK TO. IT ALSO MAKES A GOOD IMPRESSION AND SHOWS YOU’RE DEDICATED AND INTERESTED.

ASK QUESTIONS AS YOU GO. PICK UP AS MUCH INFORMATION AS POSSIBLE WHILST YOU HAVE THIS DEDICATED INDUCTION TIME FROM A COLLEAGUE- CHANCES ARE AS SOON AS YOU SIT DOWN AT YOUR DESK AND START WORKING ON YOUR FIRST TASK, YOU’LL FIND 5 MORE THINGS YOU DON’T KNOW HOW TO DO. DON’T PANIC, THIS IS NORMAL.

TRY AND WORK THROUGH A FEW TASKS, MAKING A LIST OF QUESTIONS AS YOU GO, RATHER THAN GOING BACK AND FORTH WITH SMALL QUERIES. WHEN SOMEONE HAS SOME FREE TIME, ASK FOR 10 MINUTES TO GO OVER YOUR QUESTIONS. IF YOUR GO-TO PERSON LOOKS PARTICULARLY STRESSED, ASK SOMEONE ELSE. OR MAYBE OFFER THEM A CUP OF TEA AND ASK IF THEY’RE OKAY, THEN SEE IF THEY HAVE A FEW MINUTES. BE RESPECTFUL OF HOW TIME CONSUMING IT IS TO BE TRAINING YOU ON TOP OF THEIR SCHEDULE.

WHEN ASKING QUESTIONS, SUGGEST YOUR OWN ANSWER- THIS SHOWS YOU’VE TRIED TO TACKLE IT YOURSELF BEFORE BRINGING IT TO THEM.
FOR EXAMPLE ‘WHAT TASK WOULD YOU LIKE ME TO PRIORITISE TODAY? I WAS THINKING OF STARTING BY LOGGING THE FILES YOU GAVE ME YESTERDAY, BUT WONDERED IF THERE’S SOMETHING MORE URGENT.’

IF YOU’RE GIVEN AN OFFICE BUDDY, TRY AND FIGURE OUT THEIR RELATION TO YOU; IS THIS PERSON A MENTOR? A BOSS? SOMEONE WHO WILL BE REVIEWING YOUR PERFORMANCE? OR IS IT A FELLOW COWORKER YOU CAN BE MORE FAMILIAR WITH? CONDUCT YOUR BEHAVIOUR ACCORDINGLY. YOU DON’T WANT TO GET OFF ON THE WRONG FOOT.

SIMILARLY, MAKE A POINT OF ARRANGING THE MEET WITH YOUR LINE MANAGER (IF YOU HAVEN’T ALREADY); THIS IS ONE OF YOUR MOST IMPORTANT RELATIONSHIPS IN THE OFFICE, SO YOU WANT TO GAIN THEIR TRUST. IF YOU NEED TO CALL IN SICK, BE MINDFUL OF THEIR SCHEDULE- TALK TO THEM PERSONALLY RATHER THAN LEAVING A MESSAGE WITH SOMEONE ELSE, AND IF YOU DON’T GET A REPLY, SET AN ALARM TO CALL AGAIN WHEN YOU KNOW THEY’LL BE IN. CONTINUOUS SMALL COURTESIES WILL BUILD A MUTUAL RESPECT AND MAKE YOUR LIFE SO MUCH EASIER.

DURING YOUR FIRST WEEK, BE SENSITIVE TO THE FACT THAT YOU DON’T KNOW THE OFFICE POLITICS. TEA AND COFFEE MAY BE PAID FOR BY THE COMPANY, OR PEOPLE MIGHT BE CHIPPING IN. SOMEONE MIGHT HAVE A SACRED MUG THAT NO-ONE ELSE IS ALLOWED TO TOUCH. A WOMAN IN YOUR OFFICE MIGHT BE BEST FRIENDS WITH THAT PERSON IN H.R WHO MADE YOUR PAYSLIP SETUP REALLY DIFFICULT. DON’T MOAN ABOUT COWORKERS TO COWORKERS UNTIL YOU’VE LEARNT THESE DYNAMICS; KEEP YOUR OWN COUNSEL FOR THE FIRST FEW WEEKS. IF YOU’RE UNSURE, OBSERVE HOW THE PEOPLE AROUND YOU ARE ACTING AND MIRROR IT.

WHEN SETTLING INTO A NEW WORK ENVIRONMENT, ASK QUESTIONS ABOUT HOW THINGS WORK, AND HOW YOUR COWORKERS AND BOSSES PREFER TO WORK. JACK MIGHT NEVER RESPOND TO EMAILS, BUT GET BACK TO YOU IMMEDIATELY IF YOU BUMP INTO HIM IN THE KITCHEN. KAREN MIGHT PREFER A QUICK CORRIDOR CHAT BEFORE BOOKING A MEETING TO SAVE TIME. LEARNING HOW PEOPLE LIKE TO WORK WILL HELP YOU INTEGRATE AND FEEL MORE COMFORTABLE IN YOUR ROLE.

EXPECT TO FUCK UP. YOU WILL NOT FULLY UNDERSTAND YOUR JOB FOR THE FIRST 6 MONTHS. GUARANTEED. BE KIND TO YOURSELF AND OPEN TO ADVICE AND CRITICISM; THIS IS A LEARNING CURVE AND NO-ONE EXPECTS YOU TO KNOW EVERYTHING IN THE FIRST WEEK.