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RISMEDIA, February 15, 2010—Starting a new job can feel a lot like the first day of school- you just want to fit in. In a recent survey by OfficeTeam, nearly one-third (32%) of workers interviewed said acclimating to a different corporate culture and colleagues would pose the greatest challenge when re-entering the workforce after an extended absence. Respondents also cited learning new technologies or protocols (23%) and adjusting their routines or schedules (22%) as top concerns.

The survey was developed by OfficeTeam, a leading staffing service specializing in the placement of highly-skilled administrative professionals. It was conducted by an independent research firm and is based on telephone interviews with 464 workers 18 years of age or older and employed in an office environment.

Workers were asked, “If you were unemployed for more than six months, either voluntarily or involuntarily, what do you think would be your greatest challenge when re-entering the workforce?” Their responses:

Becoming acclimated to a new workplace culture/coworkers 32%
Learning new technologies/protocols 23%
Adapting to a new routine/schedule 22%\
Building my professional confidence 10%
Other/don’t know 13%

“Beginning a new job can be both exciting and stressful, particularly for those who have been out of work for some time,” said OfficeTeam executive director Robert Hosking. “New hires can make a smoother transition by learning as much as possible about the firm’s culture before their first day. Networking actively with current or former employees and asking questions during the interview about the work environment, dress code and other policies are effective ways to gather this information.”

OfficeTeam offers five tips for professionals easing their way back into the workplace:

Refresh your skills. Determine which software applications and other tools you will be using. To prime yourself for upcoming projects, consider taking courses on any computer programs you haven’t used in a while or that are unfamiliar to you.

Get back in the swing. Adjust your daily schedule a week before your start date so you’re comfortable with the routine by your first day.

Make the rounds. Once you’ve started a new job, immediately introduce yourself to those you will be working with. To break the ice, invite colleagues to join you for lunch or coffee.

Watch and learn. Pay attention to how others act in the workplace. Many unwritten rules, such as how and when people communicate, can only be learned through observation.

Play it cool. While it takes time to gain trust in a new environment, try to project confidence in everything you do. If you believe in yourself, others will, too.

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