2020 sure has been crazy so far, hasn’t it? It’s almost June, which means we’re halfway through the year and it’s graduation season. I wanted to give a shout-out to people that are graduating this year. Congratulations 2020 graduates! I know this year is very different than any other year but hang in there, you guys! We’re all in this together. High school musical reference, anyone? Now that you’ve gotten your bachelor’s degree, it’s time to start your first job.
I would like to congratulate you on passing the daunting job interview process. Oof. Those are never fun, are they? But it doesn’t matter now because you are going to start their first REAL job after college soon. By the way, this list also applies to people switching to a new job.
Going to a new workplace setting can be intimidating, right? You want to make a good first impression, find out about their workplace traditions, meet your new colleagues, etc. The list goes on. There’s a lot you can’t control but what you CAN control is bringing some personal stuff to make this foreign environment feel more like home. Depending on your company, you might not need certain things but the list below is a checklist of what to bring to a new office setting to feel more comfortable.
1) Phone charger/Portable Charger
As we all know, we probably shouldn’t be on our phones while at work but let’s be real. Throughout the day, we’re all on it. Look, you use your phone during work, the commute to and from work, lunch breaks, and coffee/washroom breaks. That’s a lot! We live in a world where we’re basically on our phones 24/7 and if it dies during the day, I get so anxious. I might want to text a friend to tell her about my day or simply surf the web for fun. What if I need my phone for an emergency? I can’t do any of those things if my phone has no battery left. By bringing a charger to work, I can charge my phone while I’m at meetings or while I’m working.
This is going to sound obvious but try not to be on your phone for your first day unless it’s company-related or an emergency. It definitely will not give off a good impression and they do count. You wouldn’t want to be known as ‘the person we have to watch out because she’s so attached to her phone’ in the office. If you really do need to charge your phone, see if you can find a discreet place. If there isn’t one, there’s always your portable charger. You can then charge your phone while it’s in your bag but of course, remember to charge your portable charger the day before.
I’m the type to listen to music at work when I can. Even when I’m out doing my groceries or talking a walk in the park, it is almost 100% guaranteed that I would have my earphones in. Music is my life. I know I can’t use my earphones all the time at work but there will be slower days. With open offices being so common now, it can be pretty noisy. People are talking to each other in loud voices and sound travels, possibly affecting your concentration. Sometimes, you just need to be away from all that and be in your own world for a bit.
Companies usually provide a notebook to new staff but I personally like bringing my own. I am the type to like cutesy things and notebooks are no exception. The ones at work are always so basic looking.
On your first day, you are likely to be bombarded with a lot of new information and you will be overwhelmed. Write things down when your trainer/boss/HR rep is talking. It will make you seem diligent. You might think you can remember everything they say but you probably won’t. You can always ask questions for clarification or ask them again if you didn’t quite hear what they said the first time but you don’t want to keep asking them questions on information they have already talked about.
If you have an office job, you betcha there will be meetings. A small agenda to keep by your desk will make you feel organized. You can look ahead in your calendar to remind yourself about future meetings or company events. I know I don’t remember all meetings by heart and I rely on my agenda a lot. It also gives you time to rest your eyes from the computer a bit but if you prefer using your email/computer calendar, skip to the next point.
5) Pens, Pencils, Led, Highlighters, Erasers
Your new employer will probably provide writing utensils for you but again, it comes down to personal preference. Some people are fine with black pens only but I personally like writing with cute, mechanical pencils and having a variety of colours. Unless I work for Disney, I doubt the company has Disney themed pens/pencil lying around.
The first month or so can be hectic when settling into your new job. Chances are, there’s a lot of documents to sign and you’ll be collecting paperwork left and right. A folder helps keep everything together. Organize paperwork to your liking so it’s easy to find when you need it. Without a folder, there would be loose paper all over the place and a more likely chance of losing important documents
7) Insulated Water Bottle
I’m not a fan of tea or coffee. I know, I know. People think I’m insane. They’re always like ‘how did you survive university?’ The truth is, I have no idea but hey, I graduated. If you’re like me and water is your beverage of choice, I would still say to use an insulated bottle. In the summertime, with an insulated water bottle, you can keep your water ice-cold for hours when you need some refreshment. If you want something hot (hot water, coffee, tea), the bottle can keep your drink hot for a few hours so it can last longer.
Also, when you’re at your desk for a long time, you can be working so hard and forget to hydrate yourself. Seeing your bottle close by throughout the day will be a self-reminder to drink more liquids. Take care of your body.
8) Tissue Box
These are convenient to have beside you if you accidentally spilled something (I’ve definitely done this a few times) or need to blow your nose. People will often take some tissues from your desk without asking so think about hiding it inside a drawer before you leave for the day.
Don’t you find that offices are always cold? I’m cold even during winters. Seriously. What is with that?! I can’t do my job properly if I’m cold because I can’t concentrate. Keep a plain, dark shawl/sweater by your desk and you’ll be nice and cozy. If you pick a classic colour like black, for example, you also don’t have to worry about if the colour matches with today’s outfit. This is for you fashionistas out there!
10) Work Shoes
I’m one of the first people you’ll see wearing sneakers during her commute and change into a pair of work shoes when I get to my desk. My work shoes are comfortable but nothing beats a pair of comfortable sneakers.
Also, during the winter, there’s a lot of snow in Canada. Offices usually have some kind of rule that you can’t wear your snow boots indoors. I mean, it makes sense if you think about it. It would be a headache to constantly clean up the slush from everyone’s shoes. Keep a pair or two work shoes by your desk. You can choose which one to wear depending on your outfit or what you feel like wearing that day.
Bringing photos of a loved one will liven up the atmosphere. It can also be a conversation starter when colleagues come by your desk. When you’re having a bad day at the office, it helps to look at those memories.
Where is your office located? Is it in the middle of nowhere? Then, you’re probably going to have to bring your lunch unless you want to order takeout/delivery which gets pricey. Or maybe you were too busy and didn’t have a chance to eat that day. Having extra food near you will solve this problem. I wouldn’t suggest bringing too many snacks to work. Since they’re easily accessible, you’ll likely find yourself constantly eating. Be smart with your decisions.
Workplaces can often be seen as cold. On your first day, the necessities should be mostly set up already but by bringing your own things, you can show off your personality! That way, your new colleagues can learn more about you. You’ll be surprised how much you learn about a person by the things they have on their desk.
Besides, you spend 40+ hours a week by your desk. In other words, this small space is a second home. Bringing things to make you more comfortable during the many hours you will be there will feel so much better.
Is there anything you bring to work to make you feel more comfortable? Is there anything I missed on the list? Let me know!