How to Adjust to the Work Culture in Your New Office

Posted by on Nov 16 | 2015

Starting a new job can be nerve wracking. What should you wear on your first day? What will your new coworkers be like? Will people automatically respect you position, or will you be viewed as the ‘new guy’ for longer than expected? Making the transition to a new location for your company doesn’t have to cause fear.

New Job

There are things you can do before your first day that will help you adjust to the work culture in your new office. Here are a few simple ways you can prepare yourself:

  • Hit the web:
  • Before you start, check out your new location’s web page. Do they have staff bios with photos? Is the content light and consistent of your office now, or is it more serious? The country web page of the business can tell you a lot about they type of office they run. You should also check out their social media profiles (if they have any) and see the kind of tweets they send, photos they share on Instagram and what they post on Facebook.

  • Dress for cultural success:
  • Most offices adhere to a business-casual dress code which has many meanings. The way employees dress at work is also part of the culture. For some locations, business casual means jeans. For others, it’s suits but no ties. If you’re not sure how to dress for your new location, you can ask your HR department what would be most appropriate for your first few weeks there, and can evolve your office attire accordingly once you’ve settled in.

  • Do some early morning eavesdropping:
  • Get in early for your first week and observe everyone as they come in. Do people talk to each other and chitchat about their lives, TV they’ve watched and other social aspects, or do they get right to work? You don’t want to be the only one not socializing, but you also don’t want to be the only one not fully concentrating on work first thing in the morning.

  • Be inquisitive:
  • You’re new there, so it’s expected that you won’t pick up on everything right away. A great way to learn about your new location and that specific branch of the company is to ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask your coworkers everything and anything you want to know about office culture.

  • Look out for language:
  • Listen to your coworkers. Do they use colourful language when talking about upper management? Are they happy with their superiors? They way people talk about their roles in the company and the people they work with and for will give you a good indication of the office culture.

  • Predict the culture through projects:
  • How are work assignments doled out? Is it done here the same as it was in your North American office? Are projects assigned via email, one-on-one, in group meetings? The way people communicate when designating tasks can give you an idea of the office’s culture.

  • Take a walk:
  • Take a stroll around the office and look at people’s cubicles and desks. Do you see family photos and knick knacks, or do you see blank workstations? The look of your coworkers desks will let you know if the office culture is open and creative or all-business.

It may take you a few weeks to adjust to your new office’s culture and that’s okay. There’s always a learning curve with new offices but once you get past it, you’ll find yourself settling in and feeling at home.

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