5 Tips for Starting a New Job Remotely
Starting a new job is always daunting: learning the ropes of your latest role, memorising all those new names and job titles and of course finding your way around the office. But moving companies at a time where you currently need to work from home can bring even more challenges to the table.
Now we’re in a third national lockdown, many of us will be starting new jobs while being required to stay home.
So, just what can you do to mitigate the extra problems you’ll face orientating yourself? Here are some key things to consider:
Set and check your equipment before you start
Typically, your first day in an office-based role involves a morning sat with someone from the IT department who sets up your computer, email and any other equipment you need to do this job. Sadly, during the pandemic, the reality is a few days before you’re scheduled to start, you’ll receive a large box of goodies you’ll need set up yourself.
Do this long before that 9am Zoom meeting and check that everything works. You don’t want to be late for your first day because you can’t figure out how to log in to your new laptop.
Check you have access to all of the shared drives and other platforms you need as well, as we’ve all been in the situation where we can’t complete a task because a network admin forgot to grant you all the permissions needed.
Ensure you have ergonomically set up your working station. Spending eight hours a day in an awkward position can eventually lead to long-lasting injury. If you feel you need a new chair, keyboard or anything else you need to be more comfortable raise this with the new HR department pronto.
Keep asking questions
There is nothing worse than finding yourself in the situation at a new job, where you are unsure what it is exactly that you’re supposed to be doing. Starting a new role remotely means that you’re probably not going to get all of the care and attention from your superiors that you would if you were all sat in the same room together (no matter how hard they try).
Working in an office you’re able to just pop your head over the monitor and ask a colleague for assistance, the problem is that when you’re working remotely your only option is to message or make a call which sometimes feels disruptive. After all, no one wants to feel like they’re bothering their new co-workers.
Remember, no matter how worried you are that you’re annoying your manager, you can never ask too many questions when starting a new job. Ultimately your presence is lightening everybody else’s workload and the sooner you can do your job properly the better it will be for all. If you find a particular manager or colleague is slow to reply, try instead asking on a team messaging application such as Slack or Google Hangouts where anyone from your department may be able to help.
Make introductions early (and often)
Many of your co-workers will likely have never physically seen you, which will make it hard for them to save you to their memory banks, so it’ll take time.
In your first couple of weeks take the initiative to do the rounds introducing yourself to each individual. It doesn’t have to be an essay, just address an email to each person — say hello, what you’re doing at the company and where you have come from. It’s a nice touch that will stick in people’s memory more than the group-video introduction that you are likely to get from your manager.
Don’t be upset if you find yourself having to reintroduce yourself on occasion, with everything going on at the moment people have a lot on their minds and we’re all struggling to remember things.
After work pints, lunchtime gym sessions and coffee machine gossip, working from home means you miss out on many opportunities to get to know your teammates. Since the Coronavirus pandemic has forced many companies to make employees work remotely, there has been a real push to create virtual quiz nights and other online events to maintain morale.
If you’re just hopping in now, you might feel odd trying to get involved with these events having not socialised in the real world with your colleagues but try to push past this. Right now, the best we can do is socialise online. While it’s not as good as seeing people in the wild, you’ll still begin to bond and become friends with everyone at your new organisation.
Be open about your mental health
Starting a new job where you work remotely can feel particularly isolating. Dr Adrian James, the president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, stated a few weeks ago that the coronavirus crisis poses the greatest threat to mental health in the UK since WWII. So, if you do feel like you’re stuck on the moon, speak to your new company’s HR department about it. Employers have a duty of care to their employees to ensure that their work is not causing them to feel unwell.
Mental Health has become a hot topic in recent years and companies have taken initiatives to tackle the issue, such as by training Mental Health First Aiders, or by purchasing subscriptions to mindfulness apps. These may sound like small steps, but they can go a long way to make you feel better.