Once you have a good handle on the what, when, why and how, you should tackle the ‘who’. Who influences behavior, who is passive, who makes decisions and about what and to what degree.
The workplace is constantly evolving and while most offices are similar they are seldom the same, simply because the determining factor in any organization is its people, and people are random, meaning the rules and norms of that group should be learnt. And as we have all been taught, learning requires you to be observant and take notes, and this applies to the work place too, more so during the first few days/months depending on the size of the organization.
For the first few weeks, develop and stick to a routine that allows you to take in as much as you can about how the company operates, solve questions related to the organization; what, when, why and how; and much like any other form of communication, the most important parts of it are non-verbal, so outside of what people have explicitly told you, pay attention to the behaviours not articulated; when do people eat, where, do they have personalized desks, what is on them etc.
Once you have a good handle on the what, when, why and how, you should tackle the ‘who’. Who influences behavior, who is passive, who makes decisions and about what and to what degree. While you may not necessarily want or need to play office politics, you do want to know who is politically motivated and what their motivations are.
Once you have a sense of the company, routinely engage with different people, from different departments of the company. This will give you a good understanding of the organization’s culture and inform how you are placed within it, if it needs changing, and how you want to interact with it.
All in all every workplace is essentially a place to build your short and long term networks, make the most of every engagement, understand how you can purpose them toward your goals and stay true to yourself.