Some people are uncertain about whether they can perform well when starting a new job. Learning how to succeed in an office job is essential for career advancement. The skills and relationships you develop will help you become a better professional, regardless of how hard you work.
UPDATED: FEBRUARY 19, 2023
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How do I survive an office job?
It may be hard to fit in or stay focused when starting an office job. Understanding how that works is essential for long-term success.
If you’re one of those individuals (an employee or a manager), it’s possible to do well. In this post, I will lay out the 25 best tips for succeeding in any office job.
- Arrive On Time- Every Single Day
- Have The Right Attitude: Be Positive
- Be Aware Of Employer Expectations
- Take Others Into Consideration
- Avoid Gossip
- Take Teamwork Seriously
- Be Willing To Step Up And Take On More Responsibilities
- Actively Listen And Give Full Attention To Others
- Seek Leadership Opportunities
- Start Learning Skills Needed For Your Next Job
- Minimize Distractions
- Follow A Clean Desk Policy
- Keep Your Personal Life Private
- Socialize With Coworkers (When Appropriate)
- Focus On Results- Not Activities
- Do Not Compare Yourself To Others
- Write Down Your Accomplishments
- Listen And Respond To Feedback
- Be A Problem-Solver- NOT A Problem-Creator
- Identify Inefficiencies At Work
- Think Like A Manager- Not An Employee
- Get Comfortable Working Under Pressure
- Seek Mentorship
- Strive For Excellence- Not Perfection
- Ask For Help When Needed
Arrive on time- Every single day
Punctuality and attendance are the first steps to doing well at any job. By showing up, that’s already a win for you- even if it’s a small one.
Showing up signals to others that you’re willing to contribute and do the work necessary for the job. It’s a great way to start your workday.
On another note, you may need to do that if the company you work at has a strict attendance policy. Another factor could be having a manager that’s weary about you not showing up on time.
Showing up on time at a job has always been a best practice in my career. To ensure that I would have a successful day, I even arrived a little earlier than usual. You will feel more productive if you start your day earlier, even if it’s only 10-15 minutes.
Have the right attitude: Be positive
No matter what the job requires of you, always come in with a positive mindset. When you start a new job, that’s usually the best time to keep an open mind and remain positive.
When you’re at the office, refrain from complaining about work. If it’s related to management issues, it’s not a good idea to express them while at the office.
Anyone can complain, but it’s not the best route to solving workplace problems. Sometimes, complaints could end up going to higher-level (senior management) individuals.
I was not someone who complained at work but mostly kept concerns to myself. Sometimes, I would listen to coworkers complain but never jumped in and become part of the problem.
Be aware of employer expectations
From your first day on, it’s essential to know what’s expected in your new role. You never want to make assumptions about what your job functions and responsibilities are.
So how to go about it? Well, always ask questions when in doubt. It’s best to get things right than to do it wrong the first time around.
Also, understand the company’s culture and how it fits into your role. Establishing good relationships with your coworkers, your manager, and upper-level managers will help out as well. You’re already on the right track to be a good fit if you start doing that from your first day.
In jobs I’ve been in, I usually was a reasonable observer of workplace surroundings. I always made sure to communicate with management about concerns I had. As a result, professional relationships can develop trust and likeability, and a better chance for long-term success.
Take others into consideration
It’s good to be mindful of others you work with at the office. Believe it or not, some people don’t like it when you’re loud and noisy.
A typical example would be taking personal phone calls at the office. That bothers some people who don’t want to hear your private conversations taking place.
Remember: An office job is not a private space dedicated to only you. You’re sharing space with other coworkers, so you have to make the most of it.
Some of the best things to are the following:
- Do not shout at the office
- Keep conversation levels to a minimum
- Take personal phone calls outside the office (i.e., hallways, lounge area, outdoor areas)
- Go over to a coworker’s desk to have a quiet conversation
By far, gossiping is one of the worst things to do while at the office. Gossip creates misunderstandings and even negativity in the workplace.
There are a lot of minor workplace problems that end up turning into more severe issues later on. It may be easier said than done, but it’s best not to do it.
Instead of bringing negativity, it’s best to stay on the point of being positive. Again, having a positive attitude will help out in the long run.
Take teamwork seriously
When working in an office, you’re collectively working with other individuals. It may not always be the case, but you and your coworkers work together as a team.
Each one of you shares responsibilities. If you’re willing to put aside some of your personal goals and contribute to company goals, that’ll come a long way. If you do that regularly, you might get noticed and become valuable to the company in the long run.
I had jobs where there was a focus on career advancement and moving up the hierarchy (also known as the corporate ladder). It is less appealing in the modern workplace today (21st century), but that term still exists in some form.
Be willing to step up and take on more responsibilities
When working, taking the initiative on a major project or learning new tasks is a good idea. Volunteering for these assignments shows that you care deeply about the work you perform.
If you’re someone who constantly excels at work, you’re more likely to take on other responsibilities. In the long run, it helps with building your skillset and getting job promotions.
Actively listen & give full attention to others
Often, some people are not the best at listening to others. In the workplace, active listening is necessary while working with others. Work can become frustrating and ambiguous without it.
One of the best practices is giving undivided attention to others. It’s not the easiest thing to do, but it’s a great way to communicate with others. People often don’t give their full attention while multitasking on other things.
Active listening can also make you a better leader in your organization. If an organization wants to reach its goals, managers must become better listeners.
A well-known expert on listening and sound: Julian Treasure
In terms of listening, there is one person who is known as an expert in the field. The author of a great book on listening goes by the name Julian Treasure.
It’s called How to be Heard: Secrets for Powerful Speaking and Listening. If you’re interested in learning more about improving your listening skills, check out his book below.
*We are an affiliate of bookshop.org Your purchase through bookshop.org will help support independent, local bookstores.
Seek leadership opportunities
Looking for these kinds of opportunities is a great way to build professional development. They can range from leading a project, mentoring another employee, or training new hires. All of these opportunities can strengthen your leadership skills.
Even though it may not happen for everyone, would you like to remain in your job for some time? Rather than being confined to a cubicle (such as a private office)?
It’s not a good idea to stay at your current job forever. Your surroundings might change someday, and finding something better might be desirable.
Start learning skills needed for your next job
To excel in your current job, you should always learn new skills. It doesn’t hurt to start thinking about what you want to accomplish down the road.
People with the most ambition seek out better opportunities. To gain those new opportunities, they must have the willingness to learn the necessary skills. Continuing to learn is vital to professional development and advancement.
Getting distracted is one of the biggest challenges while working in an office. You’re always surrounded by coworkers and electronics (which can be even more distracting).
If there are no policies on electronic usage, silence your cell phone or put it in another area when you need to get things done. Also, turning off email notifications is a good idea as well.
If you’re not using Facebook or Instagram for business reasons (like if you’re a social media marketer or specialist), it’s not worth scrolling on Facebook while you’re at work. It’s imperative not to get distracted by social media when you need to stay focused.
Follow A “Clean Desk” policy
Some people won’t have a problem with it. Messy workstations might cause more work to pile up, which reduces productivity. Nevertheless, it’s a great way to stay organized.
One best practice is to arrange your workstation before you head out for the day. That way, you’ll be ready to start work the next day with a clean workstation.
For example, whatever tasks you need to do when you come in the next day- arrange them right before heading out. It’s easier when you don’t have a large pile of papers lying around your desk.
It doesn’t look good when your boss walks by and sees your messy workspace. So that’s something else to keep in mind when you’re developing relationships with management.
Keep your personal life private
It’s never a good idea to bring in personal issues to the office. As much as you might think, your coworkers do not care about your problems. Most likely, they care more about their issues than the ones you’re dealing with.
In regards to not gossiping, be sure to take care of personal matters outside of the office. Breaks and lunchtime are the best times to handle these matters.
There is nothing wrong with socializing at the office. It’s a matter of when it should occur, such as during quick coffee breaks and lunchtime.
Perhaps after-hours is the best time? You don’t have to feel guilty about getting a drink or a bite to eat with your colleagues. Besides rewarding yourself with your working accomplishments, it is also a great way to motivate yourself.
Focus on results- NOT activities
It’s not best to emphasize quantity but focus more on the quality of your work. It’s results that matter to your overall performance in the long run. In return, that can help determine your value to the company.
Take the example of a sales representative working in a call center. Rather than being vague about a representative’s activities, let’s look at something more specific.
“Last week, I made 25 sales.”
“In one month, I generated an average of $20,000 in sales from 100 cold calls. Due to my efforts, the company ended up earning significant revenue.”
When starting a new job, it’s best to start working under pressure early on. The more exposure you get, the more likely you’ll work well while feeling less stressed.Eric T. Seil (Site Owner of notimekillers.com)
Do not compare yourself to others
Comparing ourselves to others is one of the most common mistakes people make. Several people want the same recognition, but they don’t understand they have to earn it.
You aren’t entitled to a raise because a coworker got one after a few years with the company. Performance differs from person to person – it’s not the same for everyone. Additionally, focus on what you have accomplished and hone the work you do.
Write down your accomplishments
It may be an extra step, but it’s good to write down what you’ve achieved so far. It could be a daily (or weekly) thing, but make it a consistent habit.
Practicing this habit will lead to reinforcing positivity. It’s a win-win either way, and it’ll help motivate you and challenge you.
You can either write it down on a piece of paper (i.e. journal). Or, type it in on a separate word document to keep for yourself.
Listen & respond to feedback
It may not be easy, but it’s essential to develop as a professional. Actively listen to your supervisor when it comes to your strengths and weaknesses.
It’s best not to react negatively or make feedback personal. You want to respond calmly and professionally. Also, it’s an excellent time to ask how you can do better in your current position.
Be a problem-solver- NOT a problem-creator
The easiest thing to do is complain and moan, but the best thing is to seek solutions. To be successful in business, you must provide answers to typical problems.
Take part in contributing to the company’s success. It is essential for your career and to grow that business in the long term.
Identify inefficiencies at work
Whether big or small, there may be inefficiencies where you work. Being able to identify them can help improve how to run operations run at your job.
Making your business practices more efficient can make work processes run smoother. Also, it’s an excellent way to manage time and weed out time wasters as well.
Think like a manager- NOT an employee
Employees are told what they need to do. Managers use critical thinking on what needs to get done; more so, it’s all about taking action.
Employees focus on doing tasks well, while managers focus on the team performing well. Not just in the short-run, but they look at the long-term (i.e., one-two years down the road).
When thinking like a manager, it’s worth going the extra mile to get results. It helps to go further, such as feeling like a CEO. So thinking ahead of the game will help in the long run where you work.
Get comfortable working under pressure
When starting a new job, it’s best to start doing this thing early on. The more exposure you get to work under pressure, the more likely you’ll work well while feeling less stressed.
For example, it can be a short-term project you have to get done in a day or two. Or, you can find yourself in an impromptu meeting with a top executive at the company. These types of situations are suitable when getting used to communicating with upper-level managers.
One of the best parts of career development is having a mentor assist you. Finding a mentor (a coworker, another manager, or someone in another department) can help with your career goals.
Some of the benefits include:
- A positive learning environment
- Less stress
- Better job satisfaction
- Fewer turnover rates in the future
Strive for excellence- Not perfection
Whatever type of work you do, understand that you will make mistakes along the way. So it’s not necessary to feel frustrated when you make minor mistakes here and there.
Perfection should never be the goal: No one is perfect at anything. However, doing your best and striving for excellence are things you should aim for daily. You want to perform your best no matter what.
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Ask for help when needed
There are times when asking for help is necessary. There’s nothing wrong with asking for it when we’re not sure how to perform specific tasks.
Asking questions was something I was not great at a couple of years ago. Today, I feel much more comfortable asking for help. It might be because I’m better at communicating with others or a sign that I’ve matured over time.
Asking for help is not a sign of weakness; instead, it’s a sign of strength and growth. Especially when you want to do things right the first time around, it sure will pay off down the road.
A relevant article from notimekillers.com
Read next on “What Do You Do To Effectively Manage Your Time? Top 7 Tips” to learn how to manage your time in an effective manner.
Succeeding in an office job comes with its challenges, such as learning how to communicate with other people. But it doesn’t have to be that difficult. The tips mentioned earlier can help you do your best, whether you like working in an office setting or not.
Also, these tips can help with career development. Going from an associate to a manager can be a big step forward in your career. Or if you want to be more organized, that can help you along the way as well.
Your Turn: Which of the following tips would you use in an office job?
I would like to get your thoughts on this topic. Do you work in an office job? If so, which of the following tips have you used, or you’re thinking about implementing in your job?
Feel free to share your thoughts by leaving a comment below. I will be more than happy to help you out, and I’ll respond back promptly.
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Eric is a content writer and the site owner of notimekillers.com. He takes great pride in helping people manage their time and grow their businesses. Eric is a firm believer in time freedom, as he believes in taking ownership of time. “Time is your most important asset. It can be your best friend or worst enemy. How you use your time can shape the future you desire to have.” In his leisure time, Eric loves to write and read whenever possible. He enjoys going for long walks outdoors while doing in-home workout videos every week. You can follow Eric on LinkedIn.
8 thoughts on “How To Succeed In An Office Job: 25 Tips For Work Success”
Good stuff man, good stuff. I’ll tell you it can be hard to work in an office and not fall into the mindless sheep mentality. Thinking about it, maybe this is why Affiliate marketing is so attractive to me.
I wanna help people, but also live on my terms. Still, having an active job is necessary for some, and seeing this incredible list helps to give a reminder of basic courtesy and decorum in a workplace that could save you from termination.
Working in an office is not always the easiest thing to do. I’ve been there before, and it can be a drag sometimes.
But keeping these tips in mind can help you work well while surrounded by others. You will need to go out of your comfort zone to do what’s necessary for success. It certainly helps when working in an office, or any type of job.
Thank you for your thoughts- much appreciated!
Amazing tips… Definitely would recommend these myself. Teamwork and arriving on time is one of the most important factors when you are working. This could be anywhere, not just the office. Being positive helps to keep you motivated and wanting to do more for yourself, such as climbing up the career ladder
Teamwork is an essential component, especially when it comes to working in an office. It’s not always easy, but it can help to work well with others.
You’re right that it can be used outside of the office as well. We can take these anywhere, and they can be helpful for future success. But most importantly, it helps to work well with others in a professional setting.
Thank you for your input- very much appreciated!
All the tips you mentioned here are important indeed. Anyone who has gone through this phase would have agreed.
I started out in an office job without any experience and it took me a long time to figure things out. Although the basics such as arriving early or on time for work and keeping the work desk clean are practised, climbing the ladder of success was tough without any guidance. Mentorship is very helpful, I believe this.
Anyone starting out in an office job can be challenging. If you’re not use to interacting with others daily, it may take a while to get use to.
One of the first jobs I had was at a call center. It was a challenge not only working around other coworkers, but talking to people on the phone every day. Through practice overtime, I gradually got better working with other people- in-person and on the phone!
So I can relate to what you went through. I’m glad to hear these tips helped you out.
Thank you for sharing your input- it’s much appreciated!
Each of the steps you described is important to a better work environment. Knowing which order to prioritize them in may take some work for each situation.
Finding someone who can not only be a leader but a good mentor for your next position in the company WILL take some work to find. It could be that the best mentor is the person with the most menial job with the company. They often have insight as to what the owner is looking for in a person.
Being on time is crucial to how your employer looks at you. If you are constantly late, the perception is that you don’t care about the business but are just looking for a paycheck.
Be your best each day, give positive feedback when asked for feedback and try to live the ideals that are best for you without compromising yourself.
It takes time to find someone who may be considered a great fit in a company. When starting out a new job, you basically start fresh and have to earn your way through. I’ve experienced that myself the past few years.
Finding a mentor who works well with others may end moving up in the company. You never know based on who is brought on to work in an organization. Punctuality and attendence do matter as you mentioned earlier.
These are excellent points you made earlier. I’m intrigued by your thoughts and feedback.
Thanks so much for sharing- much appreciated!