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Fitting in as a Temporary Worker

By: Garry Crystal - Updated: 29 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
Temporary Workers Employment Fitting In

Fitting in as a temporary worker can be daunting especially when it comes to a well established team. The first day is the time to make that all important first impression that could turn a temporary position into a permanent one.

Temporary Workers and Stress

Starting a new job can be stressful and this applies whether the position is permanent or temporary. Temporary workers who work short assignments may have many first days over the course of a year. Making a good first impression will go a long way but it’s understandable if nerves do occur. Don’t expect to get everything right on the first day but do try to give a professional appearance and attitude.

Minimising First Days Nerves

One important tip to minimise stress is to be on time. Being late is only going to increase stress and will create a bad first impression. Obtain a detailed map from the employment agency and make it to the place of employment around 10 minutes early. Make sure to dress to the appropriate workplace code; ask the recruitment consultant about the dress code. It is always a wise move to be smart on the first day until the dress code is explained.

Meeting Work Colleagues for the First Time

Meeting new work colleagues can be incredibly nerve wracking. It is important to try not to build up anxiety about meeting new colleagues and employers. In most cases work colleagues will be glad to see the temp as it will usually mean their workload is about to be lightened. A professional attitude is important but being open, friendly and smiling a lot will go a long way. Listening and then asking questions will make it known that an interest is being taken. Don’t be over chatty with non work related conversation to begin with.

Expect Changes within Different Companies

Even if it is the same type of work, every company will have a different way of doing things. Temporary workers have to be accommodating to these changes, it is part of being a temp. Take the time to learn the company’s culture and their way of doing things. Don’t step on people’s toes by suggesting a “better” way to do something as learnt in a previous company. Use some initiative but do not go over the top with suggestions for changes on the first day.

Forming Relationships within a Team

Forming new relationships with work colleagues can be tricky at first. Every person will be different and it will take time to gauge the personality types of new work colleagues. Accept that not every colleague will be outgoing and friendly. This doesn’t mean that they aren’t friendly it can simply mean they are more subdued than others. Don’t ignore colleagues who are quiet; be as friendly and respectful to them as to the more talkative members.

Accept Social Invitations from Work Colleagues

If colleagues offer invitations to get together over lunch or even work social functions then make the effort. Social work functions are a great way to get to know colleagues outside of the 9 to 5 work environment. It can help enhance working relationships and it is a good opportunity for both social and employment networking. Social work functions are also good team building environments and are one of the best ways to get to know the personalities of work colleagues.

Do’s and Don’ts At a New Job

There are no set in stone rules but a few points to remember when starting a new job should include:

  • Try not to participate in office politics or gossip
  • Don’t demand time from work colleagues
  • Do ask questions if unclear of work duties
  • Don’t just sit there if not busy, ask for work
  • Don’t spend less busy times surfing the net or chatting on the phone
  • Do be friendly, approachable, and give full attention to colleagues if they request help
  • Don’t shoot out of the door as soon as it is quitting time, especially if looking for a permanent position
  • Do have a sense of humour and try to join in conversations
In many cases the temp is often on a trial period for a permanent position, and fitting in well is one of the employment tests. Work colleague’s opinions of the temp will be given consideration by the employer. Going over and above the work given will be another factor to winning a permanent position. This trial period should be used as a chance by the temp to gel within a company and win that permanent position.

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