Ask questions. Ask as many questions as you can and ask the obvious questions. Don’t be afraid to ask stupid sounding questions because people will expect you to know the answers in 6 months time.
Bring a notebook with you everywhere and write everything down. To tie this in with the first tip, write down the answers to your questions. Take notes at meetings, even if they aren't relevant to your job description. One thing I do at every company I work at is to write down acronyms that I don’t know and create a little glossary for myself. Every company has different acronyms and terminology that they use and learning what those are can be the first step toward figuring out what people are actually talking about.
Get a map, directory and org chart. Even though the office that I work in is relatively small, especially compared to my last office, I still get lost. All the hallways are beige and the cubicles look identical. Until you are able to locate where you are by the art on the walls, get a map so you can figure out where meetings are held and where people sit. With the directory and org chart, you can then grasp some context as to the people that you meet and how they relate to you.
Try your hardest to remember everyone’s name. This one I’m super duper terrible at. I will meet someone, try my hardest not to say something awkward and by the time I’m done meeting him / her, I’ve already forgotten his / her name. And remembering what they wear doesn’t work either (the first day I came to work everyone was wearing red) because they’ll have changed (hopefully) the next time you see them.
Err on the side of formal. Much like when attending a wedding or any other event where the dress code is less clear, it is better to err on the side of more formal than less with regards to what you wear.
Operate on a FILO (First In Last Out) schedule. I know this one is a tad controversial and it was between myself and my friends. Personally, I believe that you should, within reason, arrive early in the office and leave late. Not only does it help you gauge when everyone gets into the office and when they leave but also makes your available to meet and talk to people prior to or after the ‘regular’ business day.
What are your tips for tackling the first week at work?