From time to time you can see those photos on LinkedIn where companies or newcomers are bragging about what they give or just received on the first day of employment. Usually, you can see a computer, sometimes a phone. Or even a notebook to write in, most probably with a company branded pen. Sometimes you can even see some pieces of clothes so everyone can look the same in the company - yeah, I am being sarcastic.

Recently my project finished and I came back to my previous team to finish the year with them before I join a completely different department in my company. This morning I was looking out of my head, just staring at my shoes and I was like hmmmmm what would it be a perfect first day in a new company.

Obviously my case is different, I’m only going to change departments, but still, this is what I started to think about.

So that perfect first day would include:

A smooth check-in

Let’s start from the very beginning. Someone is waiting for you at the reception or shows up quite quickly when you check in. Has it happened? Well at my previous company they forgot that I’d arrive. I had to wait quite a lot until they sent my new “buddy”. At the current one? I don’t remember to be honest and that’s probably a good sign. I know that I had to spend the first half a day at the HR and just before lunchtime my unit manager came to pick me up and took me to lunch with himself and two Greek developers, one I still consider my friend.

A place to work

It should be quite evident, but you need a desk. You need a place to set up your small “kingdom” unless the company is in full flying desk/remote mode. I haven’t had any issue with this. But it’d be beneficial if you’d actually sit with your team, not in some far away offices. The latter one happened, it was not easy to get on board.

An ergonomic chair.

In the beginning of my career, I spent two weeks at a bank and then I left during my trial period for an oil major. Okay, there were already some constructions ongoing to build the new shiny offices. But still, I had to sit on a really old and uncomfortable chair which in two weeks gave me some bad backache. You have to provide your staff with ergonomic equipment. We’ll spend way too much time using them. An ergo chair is a better investment than some massage every once in a while for your employees.

A functioning laptop

Assuming that a computer is your most precious instrument at work - besides your brain - you need a laptop. From the very beginning. It’s sad that companies brag about putting a laptop on your desk on your first day. They don’t give it to you to browse on Facebook or to find your new special one. That’s your tool to produce value for them. It should be the bare minimum. Still, they brag about it because many times it’s missing. Instead, they give you some old, dusty manual about a programming language/framework - if you are a junior - so that you can read about stuff. Worse, they give you internal regulations just to make you understand you can be fired for anything anytime…

Credentials

Assuming that you will work in a team where there are already some ongoing activities, the company/your new boss should know what credentials you will need in order to start working. You should have them by the first day and you shouldn’t spend endless hours on the internal systems and/or on the phone begging to the helpdesk for some usernames and passwords so that you can work. I know, sometimes your boss cannot do anything about it because of the company processes. First, where there is a will, there is a way. Second, companies should design their processes to stay attractive to their talents even after they joined the company.

Welcome to the team

I’m not going to work for socializing. I don’t mix my workplace with a café, with a bar, or with a… But you still need some human interactions. If you are not a remote worker then even at your workplace. It’s a nice gesture if your new manager/buddy introduce you to the others and you go for a coffee, or a lunch together.

Company branded office items

I don’t need those branded notebooks, pens, whatever. Just provide some stationary and don’t make us beg for it. They should be available. If you do provide branded stuff, fine, but don’t think it’s a benefit. It’s just about marketing. A cup can be nice so that we don’t waste plastic cups. But even I don’t receive a mug, I’ll bring them for myself. Because I don’t want to waste plastic mugs.

Company branded clothes

Well… I would rather say no. We all have different styles and don’t try to make us look all the same. Usually what’s considered trendy would be too sloppy for me anyway. Let’s choose our own clothes. If you still provide some, please think about quality.

You can see that I don’t expect a lot. Still, for most of the companies, it’s way too much, even if they are quite good. What do you expect and what are your experiences?