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Starting a New Job Remotely During the Pandemic

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Lizzie Tasker Work, Tips, Recruitment...

Congratulations! You’ve bagged yourself a new job and are looking forward to getting started in a new and exciting organisation! 

Except... we’re living in the time of the Coronavirus and the extent of your commute is walking downstairs and your new office is your kitchen table. To say that the experience of starting a new job remotely might be a little different is an understatement!

From no face to face training, to no friendly conversations in the staff kitchen, it would be easy to feel detached and disengaged from the offset. Especially, if the interview process all had to be done via Zoom so you’ve never actually set foot on-site or even met your line manager in person.

But don’t worry, Ambitions have you covered with our top tips to help you navigate this unusual period and help you get the most out of your first few weeks.

PREPARE

In advance of your first day, take time to read through anything you’ve been sent.  This may include details of what to expect from your first day/week etc. plus any meetings or online training. Get everything you know about planned into your diary and at a very minimum, make sure you know what is going to happen on your first day so you don’t feel lost.

You may receive IT hardware/technology in advance, if you do, then it’s a good idea to get this set up and do a trial run beforehand so you’re ready to go.  

Set up your office area - desk, chair, notepad and any stationery you may need. Consider the background and lighting of your workspace in case of any video calls.

ASK QUESTIONS

One of the primary differences of remote working is the loss of the ability to just simply reach out and ask a quick question if you get stuck, which, in normal circumstances, you could do across a desk without giving it a second thought. Having to schedule a call or meeting to do so suddenly adds another layer of formality and you may have concerns about being seen as ‘too needy’.

On the flip side, the worst thing you can do is spend time worrying or not knowing how to proceed!

At an early stage, it’s essential to ask your line manager how they want you to communicate with them - it might be that you have a daily catch up at a set time, a messaging mechanism for non-urgent queries and an escalation process for anything that requires immediate attention.  It’s useful to understand which channel to use for what type of query and when. This also applies to communicating with other colleagues too - how’s best to reach other departments/teams, for example, HR or Accounts functions.

Some organisations have implemented a buddy or peer to peer mentor system, if this applies, take advantage of it! Use your mentor to further understand the culture and how things operate.

BE SOCIAL

Some organisations use platforms that promote collaborative working between colleagues - instant messaging services, for example, can be useful to build a connection with other team members without being as intense as a video chat.

As you would in a face to face scenario, take every opportunity to introduce yourself, get to know your colleagues and build a network of connections. There may be others who have also started remotely who can become your allies and a source of information and support.

There may also be opportunities for virtual social activities, such as the classic ‘online quiz’ or Friday drinks. Get involved as much as possible!

MANAGE YOUR EXPECTATIONS

Starting a new job is scary at the best of times, and of course, you’ll want to make a good impression and prove yourself. But it’s important to remember that these are unprecedented times and it's a learning curve for both you and your new employer. Don’t put any undue pressure on yourself and remember it's just a case of doing your best in the circumstances. As tempting as it can be to put extra hours in to show your commitment, make sure to make time for fresh air and breaks from your screen throughout the day.

We’d love to hear your experiences of starting a job remotely and how you made it work for you, please get in touch below.