If you have a new boss, it’s important to start off on the right foot. After all, you want to let them know they made an excellent choice when they hired you! You probably know all the basic things not to do at work, like show up late or spend your whole day reading Facebook.
You probably even know not to overdo it. For example, there is no need to bring your boss doughnuts every day (unless I’m your boss, in which case, please keep the doughnuts flowing).
Still, you should know some of the ways to really impress them — the techniques people tend to forget when they’ve been working in an office for quite some time:
1. Don’t Gossip
Offices are a hotbed for gossip. If you’re new, you don’t have a good grasp of the political culture yet. For these reasons, it’s best to keep your mouth shut. You don’t know which co-workers are friends with the boss outside of work. You don’t know which co-workers upset the boss regularly. You have to choose whom you interact with wisely and how much you reveal about yourself initially.
If you try to fit in by casually talking about one co-worker to another, whether it’s about how they do their job or what they’re wearing, it could be a warning sign if your boss hears about it. So, regardless of how you feel about certain co-workers initially, try to be as pleasant as possible.
If a few co-workers are gossiping about another one and ask your opinion, just say that you’re new so you don’t know, or simply say that talking about people is unproductive. Even though it might not seem like it at first, soon enough you’ll come to be respected as a person who can be trusted and who never speaks badly of anyone at the office.
2. Don’t Waste Time
If your boss walks in and sees you on your personal email or on a social media site, it doesn’t look good. You want to always appear that you are working at all times, even if you’re not. Wasting time in an office is akin to wasting money, and you never want to seem like you don’t have enough on your plate.
Instead, get to work early, challenge yourself to stay on task during the day, and only pursue personal interests during your lunch hour. If your co-worker wants to show you their travel pictures or the Facebook profile of a mutual friend, just tell them you’ll check it out later on your lunch break.
Again, I know it might seem like overkill at first, but being new at any job is all about first impressions, so you want to work hard while you’re in the office to impress your boss.
3. Keep Your Desk Neat
If you have a desk or cubicle, it’s more important to keep it neat than you might think. Whether consciously or subconsciously, people associate neatness with a positive work ethic. In a recent survey, 32% of human resources managers said they would question the organizational skills and effectiveness of an employee with a messy desk.
If your boss walks into a room and your co-worker has papers everywhere and old coffee cups on their desk, it’s going to seem like they are disorganized with their work and can’t be trusted with important matters. Conversely, if your desk is tidy, your boss will assume that you are tidy — even if you know that, secretly, your computer desktop is a total disaster.
4. Have a Great Attitude
We all have bad days. That’s a given. However, how we react to our bad days affects how our bosses see us.
If you react calmly to a very stressful day or you’re able to work through it effectively, your boss will be impressed. If you seem to crumple under pressure, throw things when you lose a good client, or in general take things too personally, it will affect how your boss sees you.
I know these four tips might seem like common sense, but they are easy to forget, especially once you get comfortable working in a place. At that point, sometimes people let their work slip, start to arrive late, or check their personal email more and more. So remember that although these tips are geared toward impressing new bosses, they’re great for impressing your boss in the long term as well.