You did it! You’ve landed that new job you’ve been trying so hard to get. Unfortunately, transitioning into a new work environment, with new people, new procedures and new office tools can be stressful. Who are the people on your team? What project management tools do they use to work together and communicate? The learning curve can be difficult.
But there are things you can do to make the first day at work great. Just like any other project, all it requires is a bit of planning and staying flexible to adjust to changes as they occur. If you go in there blind and rigid you might be fine, but chances are, you’re better off if you’re prepared.
Why wait to get the most out of your new job? Walk in there with confidence and be secure in the fact that ProjectManager.com has your back. Here are some tips to make your first day of work awesome!
Meet with Key Players
Chances are you’ve not be briefed on the unspoken rules of the workplace. That’s why they’re unspoken. Your employee handbook covers the legal requirements, but there’s a social aspect to work that can’t be ignored. The sooner you learn it, the more comfortable you’ll be with your new position.
So, how do you get people to speak the unspeakable? Well, it’s not exactly that they can’t say what proper work etiquette is as much as they take it for granted. They’re used to it, and it’s become second-nature to them. Therefore, you’re the one who’ll have to take the initiative.
According to Psychology Today, setting up one-on-one meetings with people in the office, such as with your boss, supervisors, coworkers, customers and vendors, can prove very enlightening. Don’t be formal; be casual. Start off chatty, and, if appropriate, ask about their background and a few personal details. Learn what you can about them.
Once you’ve established that the two of you are conversing well, then you can break into more sensitive areas. Tell them you want to do well in your new position, and ask if there is anything you should know. Begin broadly, and if you feel they’re open, then you can get more specific in your queries.
Of course, you need to be respectful and stay alert to any social cues. You don’t want to alienate someone, especially someone with authority when you just start your job, but if they do help you, don’t forget to thank them. You’re starting to build a network at work, and they’ve done you a tremendous service.
Keep an Open Mind
You’re always going to have expectations before your first day. After all, you were hired for a specific duty, so as you settle into the workplace your mind is going to be focused on that type of task. Nothing wrong with that. You have the skills and experience, and you want to show your best work right away.
But there is a problem if you’re too set in a certain way. Whether that routine is as trivial as when you take your coffee break, or something more serious, such as how you structure your work day. The thing to remember is you’re not the boss (unless of course you are, in which case skip this part). You’re part of a team, in fact, many teams, and you want to cooperate to work collectively.
Kristi Hedges, a leadership coach, speaker and author, writes in Forbes that when you start your job it’s important to listen and understand. “The advice to put yourself in someone else’s shoes has a lot of wisdom. But to do that, we often need to make an active effort to focus on it and probe. This also forces you to listen deeply,” says Hedges.
Yes, you were hired to do something, to be an active participant.
But before you can do anything correctly you have to get your sea legs. It can be disastrous to boldly go forth without first learning about your new organization.
Consult External Sources
You’ve already done what we suggested above and talked to the people in the business. Well, you should also be reading up on the company, and asking people outside of the office who don’t work for the company about the place, such as consultants and business partners. Get their perspectives.
Think of yourself as an investigative journalist, Hedges says, which works even if your new job is an investigative journalist. Failing to understand the culture of your workplace is definitely going to make work a lot less awesome and probably get you terminated.
Know Where the Coffee Is
Seriously? Yes, seriously. You need it. You want it, so where is it? But more than scoping out the coffee machine or kitchenette in the office, you also need to understand the coffee etiquette.
For example, does the office buy the coffee? Who makes it? If you are making coffee does it have to be jet-fuel strong? And how do you even use this newfangled coffeemaker? Who cleans up the mess? Do you bring your own mug and wash it? Are Styrofoam cups okay or will that get you labeled as an anti-global-warming Earth-hater?
There’s a lot to digest there. Then there’s the refrigerator. Who cleans it? Do you have to label your food? Are there communal snacks? If so, who buys them? You can get started on the right foot by taking on some of these responsibilities or by at least saying you’d like to be added to the snack list. This is also a great opportunity to meet the people you work with in a more casual setting.
Take the Team Out to Lunch
To further those work connections, you might suggest going out to lunch with your new team members. You should research where the good places to eat around the office are located. Where’s the great coffee spot? For that matter, where’s the drug store or bookstore or any place you might need to pop over during a break?
Knowing the culture and people at a new place of employment is important, but you need to widen that lens. Focus beyond the four walls of the office and look at the new neighborhood you’re working in. There might be great new establishments to explore at lunch or after work. That’s fun. We’re envious.
Congrats on the new job. Do you have the right tools? If you want to make the first day on the office really awesome, tell them to get ProjectManager.com, if they don’t already use it. Our cloud-based project management software makes planning, tracking and reporting on projects more efficient, so you get home on time after a productive day at the office. Best of all, you can try it free with this 30-day trial.