10 July 2023

The Definitive Guide to Acing Your First Day at Work

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Starting a new job can be scary, a bit like your first day at school. You’ll want to impress, make friends, and get a feel for the company, all while hoping that people will like you and you’ll fit right in. 

If you’re worried and need a shoulder, have a read through our definitive guide for some easy-to-follow tips. You won’t regret it.

How to prepare for your first day at work?

One week before

Do your research

No-one should start their first day at work without researching the company beforehand. Knowing the business and how it operates will help you get into the swing of things from day one.

Study the company website, scan through any press releases you might find and browse their social media profiles to stay up to date on all the latest news and trends in the industry.

Test run everything

If you’re working on-site, make sure you test your commute. That way you’ll know when to leave the house each morning and won’t be late.

If you’re working from home, check your laptop, software, internet speed and connection. This will ensure that you start your first day on the right foot. 

Test your commute before starting your first day at work

One day before

Confirm your schedule

Before starting your job, speak to HR or the recruiter who’s been managing your application. Ask them about timings and schedules to avoid any mishaps. 

Here are some questions you’ll want to bear in mind:

  • When to arrive
  • When to leave
  • How long your lunch break will be

Plan your wardrobe

Treat your first day like an interview. Wear something comfortable (but neutral) to avoid standing out for the wrong reasons!

If in doubt, think back to your interviewers. How were they dressed? Were they in casual or formal clothing? This will give you a clue as to what the dress code should be.

Remember, you can always develop your personal style once you’ve settled in and gauged what’s appropriate.

How do you make a good impression?

First day

Arrive early

It goes without saying, but please arrive early – especially on your first day. 

Not only does lateness create a bad impression, it shows your manager that you’re not serious about your role. Your first six months will likely be probationary, so if you want to pass this period, punctuality is key.  

Once you’ve arrived, sit in a coffee shop and take a breather. Then head to the office to have your security pass and photos done.

Golden rule: Arrive early

Get organised 

Your first day will most likely be the quietest in terms of workload, so make the most of it. Familiarise yourself with your inbox, create folders, to-do lists and calendar appointments.

It may seem tedious, but the more organised you are now, the easier life will be later on.

Carry a pocket notebook and jot things down. Now is your chance to listen and observe and soak up as much information about the business as you can. 

Make sure you have your passport, bank account details, national insurance number and P45 from your previous employer at hand. You might need those on your first day at work.

Befriend your colleagues

One of the greatest blessings about starting a new role is the people you meet. You’ll spend 80% of your week at work, so striking up friendly relationships with your co-workers is key to getting the most out of your day-to-day.

Workplace friendships are similar to everyday friendships – they all start with a hello. If you’re stuck and need some advice on where to begin, have a look through our approach below:

  • Introduction: What’s your name and title? Which team will you be joining and what does your role entail?
  • Background: What industry were you working in before? Are there any parallels between your previous and current employer?
  • What’s their role in the company?
  • What is it about the company that interests them?
  • What do their responsibilities look like on a daily basis? Which teams do they collaborate with?
  • What sort of projects are they working on?
  • What are their favourite places to wine and dine?

Accept lunch invitations

While it’s tempting to hide behind your computer screen all day, if someone invites you to lunch – ACCEPT. You might be shy and wish to keep to yourself – don’t. 

Not only does a lunch date allow you to get to know your team in a more casual setting, it’ll give you the chance to build meaningful relationships and relax outside of the stresses of a new office environment.