Office work is one of the largest industries in the UK, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many British workers have found themselves working from home as a result of movement restrictions. This has meant that many workers will have started their careers working remotely or will have never set foot in an office previously.
With restrictions now eased and working from home no longer a legal requirement, many new workers will be heading to the office for the first time.
To aid new starters with their first office job, flexible office specialist, Workthere, has provided an expert guide on office etiquette and how to successfully integrate into this environment.
1. Tea round etiquette
When it comes to making a round of tea it is perfectly acceptable to offer just to specific people to avoid making 10+ cups in one tea round. A good tip is to simply ask the people on your bank of desks, five people maximum. Offering to make a round of tea is also a great opportunity to strike up a conversation in the kitchen and meet new people from around the office.
For thousands of Brits who have started their first job during lockdown, the next few months will be the first time they have ever commuted to the office. Commuting is a great chance to listen to a favourite audiobook or read a new book. Try to avoid doing any work on your commute and instead use this time to do something for you. To make your commute as stress-free as possible make sure you plan your journey the night before and give yourself an extra time to ensure you aren’t late. Remember to factor in time for a coffee run if this is an essential part of your morning routine.
3. Navigating the new office
Heading to the office for the first time can be daunting enough what with meeting a new team, working out your lunchtime routine and getting to grips with your new job. One of the best ways to transition from a home worker into a successful office worker is to get to know your new office well. Ask your new manager if someone can conduct a tour on your first day so you can get to know your new office. Explore on your lunch break too – perhaps invite a fellow newbie along with you. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and remember that everyone in your office was new once.
4. Hot desking
If you’re coming into an organisation that leases flexible office space, being able to adapt to different working environments is vital. Typically, a clear desk policy here is best so you’re not packing and re-packing your desk every day. Any small items that are easily portable, such as stationery, can easily be taken with you in your bag or stored in desk drawers if that’s an option, but avoid crowding the space with accessories.
5. Attending face-to-face meetings
Over the last two years many of us have attended meetings via Zoom, Teams or Facetime. It’s exciting to finally be attending face-to-face meetings again but also a little nerve-racking – especially if you’ve never actually attended a meeting before. Ahead of a face-to-face meeting make sure you plan your journey if it's in a different location to your office, request an agenda so you can prep accordingly, you can also ask whoever is organising the meeting for a list of attendees.
6. Get to know the surrounding area
Your new office is a location you will spend a lot of time in and around so it's worth investing some time in getting to know your new surroundings. Some flexible offices offer discounts on nearby gyms and eateries. Your new colleagues are likely to know all the hot spots for the best lunch and coffee so suggest a tour or invite a new colleague to lunch in your first few weeks. Flexible offices often host community events, fitness class and networking opportunities so make sure you do your research.
Cal Lee, Global Head of Workthere commented:
Starting out in your career is nerve-wracking enough but even more so if you’re heading into an office for the first time, whether it’s your first job or you’ve simply worked remotely for your entire career so far. Whether you're on permanent company premises or a flexible office, physically being in an office environment with like-minded people is hugely beneficial.
Working together in this kind of space promotes collaboration and huge social opportunities as well, which improves mood and performance. This is especially the case when working in a flexible office space, as it’s a great way to network and interact with not just your own colleagues, but people from other organisation as well in many cases.
Working in an office also allows employees to immerse themselves in the office culture. The latest generation of office workers will need adapt to a working environment that has undergone significant change in the last two years, ensuring that they can thrive and evolve within it.