Have you recently moved because of a new job or promotion? While congratulations are in order, you might also be feeling a bit anxious about all the changes involved in assuming your new role.
You’re not alone. Moving to a new neighborhood and starting a new job are widely considered to be two of the most stressful life events. Dealing with both simultaneously is bound to cause some apprehension. But now that you’ve arrived, let’s focus on a few tips and techniques for making those first few weeks of work a little more comfortable.
Start With the Basics
Hopefully, the move itself went smoothly and you’re starting to familiarize yourself with your new surroundings. Ideally, you’ve also allowed several days to settle in before that first day on the job. Whatever the case, use the time you have wisely.
If you’ve relocated specifically for a job, let’s assume your employer will expect you to be on-site at least some of the time. It’s a good idea to try a practice run of your commute to help you gauge traffic, distance, public transportation and other commuting-related factors. If you can also swing a tour of your new building before your actual start day, so much the better. This can be an opportunity to pick up any onboarding or orientation paperwork that still might need to be completed before Day One. You’ll also feel more in control and a lot less distracted.
If you’ll be working in a hybrid capacity, you’ll need to set up a home office in a space that allows you enough privacy to participate in video conference calls and do your work uninterrupted. If you have a partner, kids or other loved ones in your household, it’s also time to set some boundaries around your availability during working hours. Make sure you own ̶ or invest in ̶ a comfortable desk and chair that minimize back, wrist, neck and eye strain. PC Magazine has some useful tips for making sure your setup is ergonomically on point.
Get the Tech Side of Things in Order
Whether your employer provides you with a computer or you’ll use your own, make sure you have the correct usernames and passwords to be productive right away. Also, familiarize yourself with the communication software your co-workers use to stay connected with each other. Two of the most popular video conferencing tools, Zoom and MS Teams, offer free online tutorials that can help you get up to speed quickly. If you’re using your own computer, make sure it’s in good working order and that you’ve installed the latest software and anti-virus upgrades.
Look the Part
As the saying goes, “You never have a second chance to make a first impression.” Whether in-person or on-camera, dress professionally and take note of how co-workers are dressed, too. Also check whether there is an official dress code in effect and follow it both in-person and online. If video conferences will be a big part of your day, consider investing in a good camera and lighting setup. Here are some tips from TechCrunch that will help you look and feel more comfortable in front of a camera.
You can’t know everything right away – nor will your employer expect you to. Your first several weeks on the job are an ideal time to ask any work-related questions you want. On the plus side, this will also help your new co-workers get to know you better – and helping you will make them feel good, too. Above all, don’t be self-conscious about asking what you consider to be a “stupid” question. If you need to know something, reaching out for the answer can be a great way to build your network of go-to people.
Get Your Elevator Pitch Ready
Inevitably, your new colleagues will want to know some basic info about you – and nothing’s more awkward than being put on the spot in a meeting or video conference. You don’t have to memorize a speech word-for-word; just have some key professional and personal highlights in mind so when people ask you what you do, where you worked before or where you’ve moved from, you won’t be tongue-tied or caught off guard.
Be Available to Your Supervisor(s)
Building a comfortable work relationship with your supervisor or manager is important. This doesn’t mean you want them to “helicopter” you; however, they should know that you’re reachable whenever they need you during the workday. Reassure them that lines of communication are always open and that you’re keen on delivering what’s expected in your new role.
Give Yourself a Break
Whenever you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, it’s perfectly okay to take a short walk around the neighborhood or a coffee break in the office. If you’re on-site, plan to have lunch with a few of your co-workers; if you’re working remotely, see if there are any social channels employees use to share personal interests or hobbies. You’ll feel a part of things, much more of an “insider” and ultimately a lot less stressed. And if you don’t have one already, this would be a good time to establish a regular exercise or meditation routine.
If You’re Struggling, Reach Out
People deal with change in different ways. If you or someone you care about appears to be having trouble coping, get help.
See whether your company offers an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) as part of your benefits package. MentalHealth.gov also offers resources that can help you and your loved ones deal with this new chapter in your lives.