A new reader with Elephants at Work asked about:

Getting used to the new culture of your workplace after being out of work for close to two years.

Whether you were laid off, going to school, on a medical leave or took a break to raise the family, getting back into the work groove can be stressful. Each company has their own unique culture. How do you integrate yourself? Here are some tips that may help you.

Create your own Work Plan

Map out or create a list of what you want to accomplish each day. Work your way down that list and if you don’t get it all done, move it to the next day.

Be Social

The biggest stressor is wondering what people think of you. Will you fit in?

Becoming the social butterfly may not appeal to you and the thought of approaching your co-workers is giving you a headache – that is perfectly understandable. Unfortunately, ignoring your co-workers will not help you integrate either. It is important to carve out time to meet with your co-workers during or after work hours. Find out if your co-workers are heading out for a group lunch and ask if you can tag along.

First Day Introductions

Hopefully, your boss is available your first day of work to show you around and make some introductions. If for they are unavailable, then ask if there is someone who can fill in. If you are not sure who to ask, if your boss’s assistant or someone in Human Resources to help you.

Bond with Your Boss

Developing a good relationship with your boss is a priority. Let’s be honest, some bosses are better at integrating new employees into the workplace than others. At a minimum, you want to schedule updates with your boss every two weeks to discuss your objectives and to ask for assistance. Do this for at least the first 90 days and then you can taper off.

Don’t be a Know it All

Now is not the time to be a know it all or to tell everyone how great you are and why you were hired. It is the time to ask questions on how your new co-workers do things without passing judgment or telling them how to do it better.

Be a good Observer

What do you do when you are stressed? Do become over talkative or super quiet? Either extreme is not necessarily good. On the talk vs. listen scale, it is better to be a listener at first, especially on controversial topics.

Create Good First Impressions

It is much easier to ride the wave of a good first impression than it is to try and readjust your co-worker’s bad impressions.

The question is timely, I’ll soon be offering a new book or e-book about integrating yourself effectively into a new job. Look for it soon!