You walk through an unusual and unfamiliar corridor early in the morning or join a group Zoom meeting in Gallery view. You look around at new faces, perplexed — wondering how will you fit in this corporate environment and make your way to the top? Hold your breath — there is always a way to work things out.
The first week at a new office, surrounded by new people can be stressful – but take this in your stride. You are about to make a significant beginning at the start of your career. The first week at any organisation for an employee is to get familiar with the surrounding, and oriented to the work assigned to each employee – termed as an induction/training period at most organisations. However, if you just stick to these basics – you are not making your first week productive at all.
"Your future is created by what you do today, not tomorrow."
Know the Organisation
I'm sure you must've gone through the company website before giving your interview. Now you are an employee, just knowing information about the company through the website is not enough. If you find yourself sitting idle for too long – go around and look for the organisation manual. Read the mission, vision, and values that your organisation stands for. Know the major accomplishments and milestones of your organisation. Go through their HR policies. Last but not the least – get to know the hierarchy of your organisation, so that you’re already setting goals, to make your way to the top of the ladder.
Be inquisitive in the right way – ask questions. Your first week is where you will receive answers from anyone you ask questions to. The number of questions you ask is directly proportional to your level of learning acquired. Ask questions about the work you need to perform.
- What advice would you give to someone in my position who is just starting out?
- How can I make your life easier?
- Who do I need to reach out to if I need help with _____?
There’s a possibility that you’d be given tons of data to analyse, or excel sheets to make – don’t be mechanical and work like a robot. Your organisation doesn’t need a robot, they needed a human to add more value to the organisation. Sharpen your cognitive abilities by asking meaningful questions and go home feeling knowledgeable. Unlike your friends, you can actually have a productive answer to ‘How was your first week at work?’
Maximize your interactions
You are bound to go into a shell, with the shock of being among unfamiliar people. However, there is a trick to follow – the interactions you make in the first week – will take you places. In the following weeks, when you have major responsibilities to tackle, you already know how to work your way around with people.
The Hawthorne effect named after Frederick Taylor's influential ideas, focused on an individual in a social context, established that the performance of employees are influenced by their surroundings and by the people that they are working with as much as by their own innate abilities.
There is no better way than your first week to maximize your interactions with your colleagues. Feel gutsy enough to strike a conversation with your Senior Managers, Managers, or the Vice President. If you get a chance to attend a social gathering at work – mingle around and get familiar. Networking is an important skill in an individual’s career life, and the earlier you start – the better you get. This will help build your confidence at a faster pace and reflect in your performance at work too.
In the first week at work, you’re judged on various parameters. One of them is your enthusiasm level. How proactive are you in taking up projects? Do you look at the excel sheet as just another burden to your pile of work stacked at your desk? Don’t be lethargic to take on any assignment that comes your way. If you find yourself sitting idle, ask around for work. Your outlook towards taking up challenges at work can help you improve work productivity largely.
A new study says it has evidence that happier employees are more productive in the workplace. The Social Market Foundation and the University of Warwick’s Center for Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy, in Britain conducted an experiment on 700 employees. Greater your level of proactivity, the happier you are in the workplace – and thus you are able to make significant contributions at work.
Set up your Workstation
If you're working from home, which you are likely to. You should set up a dedicated place to work. And no, working from your bed is not ideal.
If you're given a work setup allowance from your company, get a laptop stand, external keyboard, mouse, a light, and a webcam if possible.
These accessories will help you improve your work experience from home and will come across as more professional.
How to make your first week at work productive:
- Know your organization
- Ask questions
- Maximize your interactions
- Be proactive
- Set up your workstation
Make the best of your first week at work to extract maximum results that will reflect eventually in the later week. The more you grasp, the greater you learn – so don’t miss any opportunity at learning.