Getting to know your colleagues

Group of people working in an office

When you start a new job, you will probably be shown around your workplace on your first day. Usually, you will be told the names of your colleagues. They will probably wave and you will probably forget their names immediately.

However, it is also common that you will not be told any names. Instead, the person showing you round will just say: “this is the marketing department” and move on. In both cases, the problem comes on Day 2. How do you start making friends?

In some workplaces, it is not a problem. People are very sociable and you might even be given a ‘buddy’ – a person to show you around for the first week. Other workplaces are not so friendly. This can be because of the management style, but sometimes it depends on the type of work, the mix of ages or the location.

In general, city workplaces are more sociable than those in rural areas. This is because more people use public transport and it is easier to go to a pub and drink alcohol after work (even if they don’t drink alcohol, British people find a pub more relaxing and informal than a café or restaurant).

Some workplaces can seem very quiet, with no one speaking to each other. However, it might be more sociable than it appears, with people contacting each other over email, rather than speaking out loud.

Whatever type of workplace you have, here are some tips for getting to know others:

  • People might feel shy about introducing themselves, especially if they don’t work directly with you. This is normal. A good way to get talking is to introduce yourself and ask them how long they’ve been at the company and what they do
  • The first part of the working day when everyone is arriving is an excellent time to start a conversation with colleagues, even in quiet offices
  • Offer to make tea/coffee for others while you’re making one for yourself. Have a quick chat when you bring it to them
  • Bring in biscuits or cakes.
  • Try to join a group who go for lunch together
  • Go for after work drinks (even if it’s just one – and be aware of the custom of buying a round).
  • Don’t miss the Christmas party or any other workplace events

Image: Rawpixelimages/Dreamstime

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