Whether you’re starting a new full-time position or you’re making the rounds as a temporary employee, you’ll feel better and more comfortable on the job when you’ve started forming relationships with your coworkers. Here are five strategies that will make it easier:
1) Practice common courtesy
When you’re walking down the hall and pass a coworker, a simple exchange of smiles and a “Hi,” “Hello” or “Good morning” is an easy way to integrate yourself into a workplace. Make eye contact and refer to people by name whenever possible. And remember that working in an office is akin to having roommates. Don’t cook smelly food like fish in the microwave, leave things in the refrigerator to rot, or finish the last Keurig cup without opening another box.
2) Find a common interest
Maybe you’ll see something on a coworker’s desk that will tip you off that you have some of the same likes. Maybe you’ll discover that you went to the same college or enjoy the same TV show. A picture from a family vacation or a snapshot of their pet can also be a good starting point if you like to travel or own a pet. These can all be used as a springboard for pleasant, casual conversations that will help you get to know your coworkers better.
3) Respect other people’s time
Of course you’re going to have questions when you start a new job, and you should feel comfortable asking them. But try not to ask the same person every question (unless you’ve been told to) and try to help yourself first. For example, if you’ve been given an employee manual, check it before you ask a question about lunch breaks or benefits.
4) Make note of how to communicate effectively
At some workplaces, coworkers will call each other on the phone or send communications through instant messaging, while at some they shout to each other from their cubicles or offices. At others, it’s only acceptable to get up and walk over to the person you need to speak to. Or, it may depend on the personal preference of each employee. Watch to see how others in the office communicate and try to keep track of who prefers email, phone, instant messaging or personal visits.
5) Don’t complain on the job
It may seem obvious that a new employee shouldn’t complain, but at some offices, that is the corporate culture. If you’re sitting in the break room or the cafeteria and everyone else is venting about their job or their boss, you might feel compelled to join in. Don’t. Keep any negative thoughts to yourself and try to excuse yourself from the conversation if you can.
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