In normal circumstances, starting a new job comes with a mix of excitement and nerves. Making a great first impression is usually at the top of the agenda and much thought goes into the first day outfit.
Businesses will typically have a standard onboarding process for their new starters which will involve meeting your manager and colleagues, familiarising yourself with your new working environment and undertaking training.
The impact of the coronavirus has meant that working from home has been enforced for employees across the UK. Therefore, starting a new job in the current climate means there’s a high chance that this will be done remotely.
With much uncertainty over when the workplace will return to normal, starting a job remotely and settling into a new job remotely is likely to be the new norm for many people in the foreseeable future.
We share some top tips on how best to approach starting a new job from your own home.
Create a Comfortable Work Environment at Home– Give yourself the best possible head start by setting yourself up with a comfortable area to work in from home. Try to position yourself in a light an airy part of your home and if possible, work at a desk or table to ensure your posture is aligned. Although it may not feel as exciting as being assigned a new workspace in an office, make the best of the situation as this will be the spot you’ll be working from for the next weeks or months, depending on government guidelines.
Embrace Different Onboarding Methods– Businesses have had to make big adjustments to enable their workforce to continue working efficiently and it may be that their onboarding process was never designed to be done remotely. Try to be open minded and patient at this time, they will be doing their best. Some employers may provide one to one sessions with different members of the team on video call, others may share power point slides for their onboarding and for those ahead of the curve, they may have already implemented training sessions that can be done online.
Virtually Introduce Yourself– A major part of starting a new role is getting to know your colleagues and building relationships, something that’s particularly difficult to do remotely. Many employers will have already considered this and will introduce new starters to the team by hosting a group video call. It may also be helpful to be assigned a mentor so that they can be on hand to help you and make an effort to involve you in group conversations. It might be worth mentioning this to your manager if you think you’d benefit from it. Try to make a real effort to make conversation with the wider team, perhaps schedule brief catch ups with them to get to know people on a one to one level and this will also help you understand the business more.
Establish a Routine– Working from home can be challenging if you are not used to it and if you’re getting to grips with totally new responsibilities and expectations. It can be hard to keep motivated in these circumstances but establishing and sticking to a daily routine can help you keep on track. Start work and take breaks at the same time each day. Try to get some exercise and fresh air during a break to give you a sense of perspective when you return and fully separate yourself from your work at the end of the day. It can be easy to work longer hours or fire up the laptop late at night when working from home so set some boundaries to ensure a clear divide between work life balance.
Utilise Communication Channels– All businesses will use different methods of communication whether it’s email, phone call, WhatsApp, slack or many more. Try to get to grips with what channels are used for what early on and utilise them for learning and relationship building. It’s also important to remember that if you were working in the office and you had a query, your manager or mentor would be on hand to offer guidance and support. If you don’t have a clear understanding of the communication channels, it will be much harder to seek out this support at home.
Ask for Help– As mentioned in the point above, if you have any queries or uncertainties when adapting to your job remotely, you will need to actively reach out for help. That’s totally normal so don’t be afraid or embarrassed! Schedule a phone call or video call to gather more information and call upon different colleagues. This will help you get up to speed with your role and the business as a whole much more quickly and by engaging more with your co-workers you’ll also connect with them faster.
Track Your Progress and Challenges– There are lots of benefits of making daily notes. Some managers will want you to update them on what you’ve done each week so having notes will help you to provide this. It also enables you to record any challenges or obstacles you come across which you can feedback on. There will be things you are unsure on at the beginning but that make more sense the more you learn so having a record of this will act as a reference and a motivator for how far you’ve come.
Focus on the Long Term– It may seem completely alien, starting a new job from home and working alongside a team that you’ve never met before but remember this is only temporary. Things will get back to normal so focus on the job at hand and be as pro-active as possible. The more time and effort you invest in understanding and developing in your new role, the smoother the transition will be when normality resumes.
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