We've all been there: stepping over the threshold of the new office doorway for the first time. It's both nerve-wracking and exciting. You have hopes for a future in this brave new world, but it's not going to come easy.
Since we know what it’s like at that doorway, we know how to treat the new girl, right? Wrong! Here's how to welcome the new girl into the fold so she can settle in quickly and help with that growing workload:
1. Plan your first impression.
Just as you will have a first impression of her, she will have one for you. Welcome her with a warm smile and friendly handshake. Tell the new girl your name and what department you work in. She might need to ask you for a reminder later, but she'll remember your kind greeting.
2. Give her some space.
If you can set her up in her cube right away, do it. She’ll need a place for her handbag and coat and also for a break after all the intros are done. It will be comforting for her to get acquainted with where she’ll be spending a third of her life.
3. Show her the important spots.
A brief tour of the office and facilities is always a good idea. Show her not only where the restroom is, but also the cafeteria, the elevators and the basket where outgoing mail goes. Remember, it may be old school for you, but everything is brand new for the new girl. Navigate her to every stop in the building and give her some tips about the neighborhood. She’ll want to know where to get the best cream scones and coffee, where to run out for a bottle of aspirin and where to get somebody a birthday card. Leaving no stone unturned will make her feel at ease.
4. Ask her to lunch.
You might already have a favorite lunch pal or prefer to spend your lunch break alone, but ask the new girl out to lunch anyway. The gesture will be a big relief to her in those early days at the office. It’s a kind and courteous gesture which will show her that that’s the way the office rolls.
As time goes on, you'll go from helping the new girl settle in to helping the new girl lean in. The most difficult things to figure out in a new work environment are the unspoken protocols. If the boss is cc’d on every email, tell her that off that bat — don’t let her guess.
Fill her in on the rules of personal cell phone usage, how to call in sick and how to ask for vacation time. Try to find ways she can eliminate her new girl faux pas and tell her these up front. The customs, formalities and decorum of the office are just as important as showing her where the copier paper is kept.
And to help the new girl further, here are a few don’ts:
- Don’t converge on her — give her some breathing room.
- Don’t gossip in front of her — dirty laundry doesn’t have to be aired on the first day.
- Don’t say negative things about the boss or others — stay positive.
- Don’t be hyper-critical during training — there’s ALWAYS a learning curve, so give her a chance to get up to speed.
- Don’t isolate the new girl — she won’t be new forever and she may even be your boss someday! Treat her accordingly.
Donna is a freelance writer with a particular interest in the issues, struggles, loves, and dreams of women. She writes all about it on her blog, alovelyinconsequence.blogspot.com.