Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared on FlexJobs.com.
Starting a new job can invoke a strange mix of emotions. On one hand, you’re excited about the opportunities in front of you. But mixed in with that enthusiasm may be a hefty dose of nerves.
How will you get adjusted? Will your new co-workers like you? What are you supposed to do about lunch?
And if this is your first remote job, you may worry about the tech and how you’ll handle all those new unknowns. Try the following tips to get your new role off to a great start!
Before Your First Day
Being proactive before your first shift can help set the tone for how your new boss and teammates perceive you. Set yourself up to hit the ground running.
1. Research the Dress Code
Remember the night before the first day of school when you’d panic about what to wear? Determining how to dress for a new job can feel like that.
You don’t want to be the person who sticks out because you’re overdressed. But you also don’t want to show up dressed casually when everybody else is in business attire.
Once you’ve accepted the position, there’s nothing wrong with inquiring about the dress code before your first day. Contact the HR representative or recruiter you’ve been working with. Ask for some advice on the appropriate dress code.
You’ll have one less thing to worry about and can show up feeling comfortable and confident.
Even if you’re working from home, it’s a good idea to have a professional outfit set aside. Many remote companies have orientation and training via video, which still means meeting dress code standards.
2. Verify Your Documentation Needs
Regardless of how your new role is structured, you can expect to do some paperwork. Tax forms, handbooks, waivers, insurance applications — there’s a lot to document when starting a new job.
Ideally, you can get all that administrative stuff out of the way as soon as possible, which is why it’s great to be in the loop on what you should have available.
Do you simply need to bring a driver’s license and a Social Security card? Or, do you also need a signed copy of your offer letter? What about the information for your emergency contacts and your direct deposit forms?
You can clarify documentation details with your point of contact ahead of time.
It’s much better to arrive overprepared than underprepared! Plus, that gives you time to hunt down your documents or request new ones if you can’t locate them.
3. Connect With Your New Teammates
Meeting and interacting with co-workers is one of the most nerve-racking parts of a new position. They’re already a team with an existing bond and dynamic, and it’s always challenging to be the new person.
So, why save all of that anxiety for your first day on the job? You likely already know the names of at least a few of the people you’ll be working closely with. And if not, some clever searching can take you a long way.
Send a LinkedIn request with a friendly and personalized note. Introduce yourself and state that you’re looking forward to working together.
You might get to know your colleagues a little. Perhaps you’ll discover that you share an alma mater or a passion for rescue dogs while also breaking the ice before your first day.
4. Understand Expectations
For added peace of mind, ask your recruiter if there are certain things to anticipate.
Will you be meeting with colleagues or department heads for most of the day? Do you need to spend time with the HR department? Should you arrive earlier or later, so your new boss has time to dedicate a few hours to get you up to speed?
Similar to mapping out a new commute before you actually drive it, having a mental map of your first day can keep anxiety at bay. Ensure you have a notepad and a few pens or pencils ready to jot down any relevant details.
5. Practice Wellness and Relaxation Techniques
Nobody likes those first-day jitters. But rest assured, they’re normal. Starting a new job is a big step, so you’re expected to have some anxiety.
If you find the anxiety overwhelming, this is a great time to launch a yoga or workout habit. You’ll help your mind and body relax with movement or mindfulness techniques.
Then, remind yourself that you’re not the first person to feel this way. Once you get past your first few days, you’ll feel more adjusted and settled.
Before long, those overwhelming first-day nerves will be nothing but a distant memory!
6. Take Some Time Off
Even if you begin to accrue vacation hours on the first day of your new role, it’s unlikely that you’ll have a chance to take a vacation anytime soon. One of the best things you can do is take some time for yourself before your first shift.
Ideally, you’ll be able to build in a few days off between roles. But if not, try to negotiate taking your unused vacation time, rather than having it paid out.
Sure, the extra money is nice, but the mental health benefits of downtime can offer significant value as well.
7. Set New Goals
You’ve achieved a significant goal. It’s tempting to bask in the satisfaction of that achievement for a while, but it might be better to spend a little time updating your career goals.
Ensure you recognize how this role fits into your long-term goals. What is the next step to get there?
While you never want to focus on the following steps to the extent that you’re not enjoying your current achievements, you also want to avoid complacency.
Updating your goals can ensure you ask smart questions when meeting your new manager and discussing tasks and interests.
8. Set Up Your Home Office
If you’ll be working remotely, don’t leave your setup until the night before. Ensure that your computer is ready to go, that you have all of the necessary cords, and that your video and audio work.
Double-check your internet speed and invest in some better coverage if needed. Sit in your chair and consider the ergonomics of your desk if this is the first time you’re working remotely.
Consider the time of day you’ll be working and boundaries you might need for roommates or pets.
Prepare for a Successful First Day
It’s natural for a new job to stir up some anxiety. However, as with anything, adequate preparation can go a long way in calming first-day jitters.
Take the time to ensure you’re set up for success when you’re clocking in for your first shift.