Adapting to a new work environment

School and work environments are quite different. 

  • Are you a college / university student? Still have no idea how does the working environment feels like? While you may feel disoriented at first, there are a few things you can do to shorten the adjustment period and glide through the learning curve.

Why You Must Take Your Internship Seriously

  • Internships are an integral part of a well-round higher level education. In fact, many college / university graduates will indicate that much of their first job experience was gained through an internship, and not in the classroom.
  • When you agree to participate in an internship, you make a commitment.
  • Don’t take that commitment lightly. An internship can be an amazing experience and can truly change your career path.
  • Remember, you are doing this internship to get a professional reference and experience on your resume.
  • If the company doesn’t find you to be consistent and reliable, they won’t want to recommend you to the decision makers at their company or at other companies.

Don’t act like an intern – become part of the team

  • Rather than “acting like an intern” and merely taking tasks given to you, completing them and calling it a day, work on them like it’s your actual job. Treat your internship like it’s your permanent job and you’re part of the team. After all, for the time you are working there, you are a part of the team.
  • If you take it seriously and learn the basic things, your first (and subsequent) job will commence with ease. As you have already taken similar opportunities in the past, it would be easier to fit in the professional environment.

An internship program prepares you for your first job.

  • Along with picking up new skills, learning to communicate with fellow workers, and developing relevant skills that will serve you as you enter the labor force, internships are an opportunity to showcase just what you can bring to a company as hiring season hits. So, it’s important to make a good impression.
  • One of the biggest mistakes interns can make when taking part in an internship is not committing to giving their best each and every day on the job. Laziness and slacking at your internship can hurt your career prospects in ways you can’t foresee. 

Workplace culture in Denmark

Flat hierarchy, ironic comments, direct communication, and a willingness to take responsibility. According to Danes, these are the most important aspects of Danish workplace culture that you need to understand if you are a non-Dane working with Danish colleagues or counterparts.

  • Working in Denmark requires an understanding of the Danish workplace culture to avoid confusing situations. Work culture of course depends on the company you work for, however, there are some specifics that seem to characterize the experiences of internationals working here.
  • Danish workplace culture is characterised by among others flat hierarchy, working in a team, flexible working hours, acting proactive and informal tone of communication and can be very different from what you are used to from home. Understanding it will make it easier for you to adjust to a new workplace culture and interact with your new colleagues.
  • Generally, Danes speak their mind and speak without a filter. We are very straightforward and honest, and we don’t cover things up – we say what we mean. A part of Danish culture is also that we are not afraid of confrontations or disagreement. You can say that it’s part of our democratic values that we can be open and sometimes have heated discussions.
  • Danish employees generally have a lot of influence in their daily job. We like to be autonomous, and we are very self-driven. That’s why we also like to take responsibility and are empowered to make our own decisions.
  • In Denmark it’s definitely better to make a wrong decision than to make no decision at all. As long as we are honest and quick to speak up about the mistake so it can be fixed, there’s no harm done. It’s human to fail – you just have to learn from your mistakes and improve your work.
  • There is no dress code, and people talk informally to each other. You do not use “Sir” and “Ms”, but you use first names with all colleagues, from trainees to managers and superiors. Your colleagues will also use your first name, and people say ‘du’ (the informal ‘you’) when they address each other. However, you might be more formal in mail correspondence.

Take care of your attitude

  • Firstly and foremost, this is the most basic yet most important thing from all points that you should do. Keep in mind, the company will prefer to employ the well-manner employee & develop their competencies rather than employee who’s having good competencies but lack in attitudes.
  • Attitudes become the most basic thing before you’re going to the next step. You may have good skills in doing your job, but if you don’t greet your colleagues in lift, or you laugh too loud in the work area while the others still working, your competencies may not be considered.

Change your mindset

  • When you’re in college, you just focus on your assignment. You tend to not care of what others people thinking, and you just want to be yourself. In working life, you must adjust yourself with the other people and situation.

Always want to learn

  • Having no experience but must accomplish the project which delegate to you can make you worry or stress. That’s why, be a fast learner! List-down of your daily jobs & target, always want to hear the input from your senior, proactive to find the detail of your job. Getting involved and do the additional tasks, attending the meeting, working overtime, accept the bigger challenges from your superior can make your experiences going to the next level.

Being proactive!

  • In order to adjust with your new job or dealing with your colleagues, you must be proactive. Start to greet your colleagues when you meet them, greet your superior, asking them if they need some help, asking them to join lunch with you, or start to have chit-chat with the simple things. Keep smile to whoever you meet would be great. Express your interest in your job and your idea, even you’re fresh graduates.
  • In college, you pretty much set your own pace. Your day is less structured, and you have more control over your time. Not so at work. In most cases, your hours will be set, and your job duties will determine your pace. Don’t expect as many breaks. In school, you worked mostly on your own.
  • On the job, you need to make sure your efforts are in synch with the organization. You’ve been used to getting specific assignments from professors, but at work your duties might not be so well-defined. You’ll have to show more initiative.
  • As soon as you start work, observe the daily pace of the workplace. In some companies, employees are hard at it first thing and stop work on time. In other workplaces, the day starts slowly, but most people stay past quitting time.
  • As a new employee, it’s a good idea to arrive at work early and leave when most of your colleagues do. Be punctual for meetings and appointments, even if others aren’t. 
  • You should be observing and adapting to all these factors. Don’t try to change the culture. Maybe you would prefer to work at a steady pace, but if there are rush periods, you’ll have to step up the pace. Don’t assume the rhythm of your new workplace will be like your previous job.

Ask questions

  • Don’t be shy—ask questions. Your colleagues understand that you don’t have all the answers and are expecting you to be curious and speak up. They’d much rather you ask questions than do something wrong.


  • Okay, this is more of a suggestion than a strategy. Nevertheless, I encourage you to wear a smile whenever possible. It will make you feel better and will also lift the spirits of everyone around you.

So, keep trying!