6 Tips on How to Adapt to Different Workplace Cultures

Workplace culture is unique to each organisation. It affects every aspect of your working life.  Office culture encompasses elements like business values, physical environment, management styles and even dress code. Each workplace has a unique culture that you’ll have to adapt to, especially if you’re a contract worker or start a new job.  Here are 6 tips to help you adapt to different workplace cultures. (Inspired by Deborah Swanson)

Tip 1:  Pay attention during onboarding

Ensure that you know what is expected of you in terms of knowledge, skills and behavior that supports the organisational values and workplace culture.

Tip 2:  Observe how others behave

Watch how your colleagues interact with each other and supervisors. While behavior is also dependent on individual personalities, there is always an accepted (or unaccepted) way of doing things.

Tip 3:  Ask questions about the workplace culture

This goes for procedures, processes, and people-related matters. If things are done differently than what you are used to, rather clarify what the preferred way of doing is. Better to ask for clarification than to follow your own mind, and mess things up.

Tip 4:  Withhold judgement and assumptions about the workplace culture

Every workplace has its’ quirks.  These peculiarities are sometimes strange and annoying, especially if you have worked in several other organisations before. Rather withhold judgement and look for underlying reasons. An unsociable co-worker might be dealing with a sick child or parent.

Tip 5:  Don’t compare different workplace cultures with each other

Don’t compare your new contract to your old one. It is super annoying to have a colleague who won’t stop talking about their previous client and how they did everything better. Remember the good advice: If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.

Tip 6:  Acknowledge your mistakes

No matter how careful you are, you are sure to have some slip-ups in your new job. When you make a mistake, rather own up to it, than trying to hide it.  In addition, ask for pointers on how to do things better next time.

Several things make contract workers resilient and having to adapt to different workplace cultures is one of them.

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