Apparently we spend 35% of our waking hours at work during our working life (or 21% of our entire waking lives). So it’s no surprise that the vast majority of us want to enjoy our time at work and forge the best possible relationships with those we work with.
All of which makes moving jobs a big deal. And no matter how many people you’ve met throughout the interview process, it can make the first day a daunting prospect; new social dynamics, new systems, new desk.
To help settle those nerves and make the first few days an enjoyable experience, here are our tips on how to acclimatise like a pro.
1. Get some sleep
This may sound obvious, but you want to be on top form on your first day, so it’s crucial to get a good night’s sleep before you start. If you’ve had time off before starting your new job and have slipped in to a routine of late nights and lie ins, make sure you get yourself back in to a more regular routine at least a few days beforehand.
2. Don’t be late!
No-one is deliberately late on their first day, but it goes without saying that it’s crucial to ensure you’re on-time... ideally 10 minutes or so early. So whatever mode of transport you’ll be using for your commute, it’s a good idea to test it out before your first day. How long does the drive take at peak times (Google Maps doesn’t have a ‘rush hour’ function yet), where’s the nearest station, what’s the bus timetable etc.?
3. First impressions count
Don’t underestimate the power of first impressions – whether it’s conscious or not, people do form quick initial opinions, so it’s important to start on the right note. Look smart, smile, introduce yourself, project a confident, approachable demeanour and people will naturally want to engage with you.
On that note:
4. Show some restraint
You want people to get to know your personality, but a bit of self awareness and tempering your full personality in the ‘getting to know each other’ stage is sound advice. So if you’re normally the person bouncing off the walls with energy and enthusiasm, tone it down just a little. Or, if you’re naturally a more laid back character make a concerted effort to pep it up a little. It’s probably also good to avoid cracking jokes or political debate at this stage. The point here is that you’re learning about internal personalities, culture and boundaries and you’d be well advised not to inadvertently step over them.
Which leads nicely into…
5. Steer clear of the gossip
No matter how good the culture, almost every business you’ll work for has some form of office politics, or the very least, an office gossip; we’ve all met them. At some point you’ll be exposed to them, so it’s important not to get involved in them when you are. At least for the first few months.
Following on from the previous points, no matter what their level, the best thing any new employee can do is listen to those around you. Not only does this help you develop a more in depth understanding of your role and the wider business, but it helps build trust and earns respect.
7. Take initiative
It’s often the case that you’re drip fed work to do over the first few days in a role, rather than having your full work load from day one. If you’ve finished what you were doing and find yourself with some time on your hands, resist the urge to start updating your social media and instead ask your manager or colleagues whether there’s anything you can help them with. That kind of proactive initiative will be music to their ears.
8. Get organised
You’re likely to be bombarded by information, meetings, introductions, procedures, policies and a myriad other things in your first few days. So take notes & write it all down – we promise you it’ll help you remember everything and when you forget something (you will at some point) you’ve got something to refer back to. It’s also worth noting down what you’ve done and learnt in the first few weeks as it all helps build a clearer picture of the business and where, potentially, there are areas you can help them improve.
9. Prepare your ‘pitch’
This may sound strange but it’s a good idea to have a nice, succinct snap shot of your background and experience that you can give to new colleagues. There will be plenty of people you didn’t meet during the interview process who will be interested in what you’ve done before you joined.
10. Ask questions
Whilst listening attentively to everything people are telling you (see point 6 above) it’s also essential to ask questions if you’re not sure of something. Far better to ask than assume you know the answer & get something wrong early on. Asking intelligent questions also shows you’re taking interest, which is always a good thing.
11. Silence your mobile
It’s your first day at work. You need to be 100% on the ball. No distractions. No Snap Chat, Facebook or Pokemon Go.