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We’ve all started a new job tentatively wondering what our colleagues are going to be like, how they’re going to react to you and whether or not you’ll be included. The fact of the matter is that you’re going to see these people every day, so you hope you’ll find someone you can click with. The main thing is not to worry. They’re working in the same place as you, so you already have something in common. Not to mention the fact that they’ve all experienced a first day themselves! The trick is to smile, be friendly, and talk to people. Ask them about themselves, as well as job matters. Remember that they’re people too, not just robots placed to help you with work crises.

Talk to them!

Once you get chatting, maybe over a cuppa and a choccie biscuit, you’ll probably find that you have lots of things in common with each other. As time goes on and you know a bit more, and you’re more familiar, go on a night out. Socialising outside of work is an excellent way to transcend the gap between regular colleague and friend.

We’re not suggesting you have to get on with everyone (not outside of work at least). But if you make an effort, it’ll be noticed, and you’ll gain a lot more respect than if you just sit in the corner as quiet as a mouse, afraid to speak to anyone.

Don’t worry if you feel shy

Don’t expect to be really confident at first (unless you’re one of those enviously confident people of course). They’ve all known each other for a lot longer, so they’ve already got established relationships and probably many insider jokes. Take baby steps but try to push yourself out of your comfort zone a little; you’ll be surprised at what you can achieve if you just go the extra mile.

Don’t let bullying go unchallenged

If you come across bullying or harassment however, it’s important you inform someone as soon as possible. The worst thing you could do is to keep it bottled up and try to deal with it yourself. Everyone has the right to be happy at work, and to be treated with respect. It’s the law. Often it’s just a case of mentioning it to the person in question; probably they haven’t realised that you feel that way. A lot of the time, it won’t be malicious. People get in to the zone when they’re at work. If they’re a bit stressed then perhaps they’ll be a bit stand offish. However, if it continues, or if it really is serious bullying, report it to a senior member of staff and they will take the necessary action.

At the end of the day, you’re there to do a job, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy yourself at the same time, nor does it mean that you can’t make friends with your colleagues. This goes for everyone as well, not just new starters. It’s never too late to make friends with your colleagues. Try it today; what’s the worst that can happen?

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This guest blog was contributed by Janine Willis a freelance blogger who often blogs about workplace and HR issues such as flexible benefits for employees.

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