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Office Etiquette - How To Fit In And Not Irritate People

Aug 20, 2008
So, it is your first day at your new job and you don't really know what to expect. You have been to the office before but only briefly at the interview and have got a first impression about the company. But, how much do you really know about the office etiquette and how you are expected to behave? Well, there are some simple rules and guidelines to abide by so that you will take to your new workplace like a duck to water.

The basic behaviours that will be expected of a new starter are those that the current office will already practise. Adhering to the dress code will be demanded so ensure you know if the company encourages suit-wearing or smart casual as this will make you feel comfortable and prevent an embarrassing first day. It will feel awkward if you arrive for work in a three-piece suit to find your peers and boss in jeans and trainers or vice versa.

As a new starter you will be expected to adapt to the office environment that you are joining. Don't think that you can just impose your personality on the workplace as this can appear as arrogance and may alienate you from certain members, if not all, of the office. Take your time when you start to monitor the other workers and get an understanding of how they work, speak and behave. Doing this will enable you to become a part of the office hierarchy as you smoothly integrate into the group.

Many of your actions should be based upon those of the existing workforce. However, this doesn't mean that you should act sheepish and introverted and become an office clone. There may be various traditions that are followed so try to make yourself aware of these early on so you don't offend people when you flout these rules. An example of this could be communal tea runs, when the single cup-of-tea maker will be victim to whispers and gossip-mongering.

Don't be afraid to be yourself as it will enable your new workmates to get to know you right from the start. Setting the tone and conveying your personality is an important part of making an impression, so do it in the right way and you will be a popular figure in no time at all.

Respect is one of the cornerstones of a happy office so treat others with respect or risk becoming an eternal outcast. Talking over people, making personal calls and telling offensive jokes are all ways of making you disliked with little chance of reconciliation. First impressions are so important so be aware that your new office will be scrutinised everything that you do in order to gauge a quick evaluation of what you're about.

Your first day is likely to involve a lot of meeting new people, so ensure you sleep well the night before. Yawning or appearing disinterested and vacant when you are being shown around is not going to set you in good stead for your new career. Listen carefully to any important information and don't be afraid to ask questions when you don't understand. It will let your boss know that you are listening and that you are keen to learn.

The key to becoming a fully-integrated member of your new workplace is simply to listen and observe to your new workmates. You will be spending more time with them than you will with your family so take the time to get to know their quirks and beliefs. You will not want to seem invisible but you will also need to avoid standing out from the crowd for the wrong reasons. It will be hard to convince people that their first impressions were wrong.

Starting you rnew job is an intimidating time for any person, but try not to be too nervous as this may affect your behaviour negatively. Be confident, without appearing arrogant, and get to know your new peers during breaks and conversations as this will further improve your chances of enjoying a happy working life. The new office could be your workplace for a very long time so it makes sense to make the effort to fit in without irritating too many people.
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