1. Remember TIME = MONEY – Being on time means being 5 minutes early to start work and if you can’t make it for whatever reason, let someone know and apologise. Wasting time will devalue a business.
2. Question everything – at an appropriate time! – You are going to have a lot of questions in a new work placement – this is normal – no one is expecting you to know everything. Remember other people will be concentrating and might struggle to answer your queries every time they arise. So jot them down and agree a time with your boss when you can get together for 10 minutes and talk through all your questions. As long as this strategy doesn’t hold you up with a deadline (in which case you should interrupt and ask) your boss will LOVE this!
3. Be on top of your workload – When you’re asked to do something, write it down. Check when it needs to be done by and get organised. You will only be able to prioritise by knowing everything you have to do and checking regularly with your boss about what is most important. Make it easy for your boss to trust you know what, where and when you are doing things.
4. Be pro-active – think broadly about the team around you and become useful. If you have come to an end of your immediate task list, bang the kettle on and whilst taking orders, offer to help someone else. Being flexible means you become more valuable in the long term and everyone likes a nice cup of tea!
5. Communicate effectively – computer based workers are continuously bombarded with emails, so think of email as an efficient, ‘need to know’ communication strategy. Think of ‘To’ as – ‘you need to action something as a result of this email’ and ‘cc’ as – ‘you need to be aware this is being actioned’. However, if you can speak to someone in person, that is far better than email because making personal connections is a far more efficient way of building relationships.
6. Be curious – new ideas are usually welcomed by business owners so if you have them, share them at an appropriate time. Observe, listen and understand the business and its wider market; your ideas might help the business grow. Remember, this isn’t about telling, it’s about asking.
7. Be real – be your-work-self. Everyone likes to work with genuine people but your ‘Friday night you’ isn’t necessarily going to be appropriate for your work colleagues! Remember if there is a professional code of conduct at work to read and adhere to it. But stay you.
8. Follow the rules – for example, if you have to work on computers, make sure that you find out and agree where and how to save your documents. There are often protocols for things like this, so understand and follow the rules.
9. Do what you say you are going to do – being trustworthy and valued is about setting in place realistic expectations and following through on your promises. This is the best way to ensure you gain respect, trust and develop integrity. Sometimes it’s not possible to do everything, so be aware of others’ pressures and keep people informed with plenty of time. If it’s really important to them and isn’t a priority for you, they can make other plans.
10. Make and take cake – If you are good at baking, take cake. If not, buy cake. Most people love cake and subsequently, will love you when you feed it to them. And for the health conscious, buy/make cake with fruit in.