Starting a new job comes with all sorts of trials and expectations, and with COVID-19 meaning most new employees are now starting remotely, these trials only seem more complicated and difficult to overcome. If you are in this position, you may be wondering how you will communicate daily with your manager and other colleagues, how you will get to grips with new systems and processes, how you will ask questions and overall settle into the new office.
While you may be experiencing extreme first-day nerves, companies are also having to navigate this period for the first time as well. Therefore, it is completely normal to be nervous and to want answers ahead of your first day. While starting a new job amidst a global pandemic is no easy task, it is far from impossible. Keep reading for some tips on getting settled into your new online office.
Prepare for a very different onboarding experience…
Normally, your first day would involve picking up your laptop and various materials, meeting with your manager and other colleagues, and being shown around the office. This, of course, must all now be done virtually, so you should prepare yourself to be onboarded into the company in a very different way to usual.
Companies will have worked this out well before your arrival, and it is very likely your first day will involve many zoom calls as your colleagues encourage you to settle in and explain everything you need to know.
Consider reaching out to your HR contact or manager to ask how the company is dealing with onboarding logistics during this time. Getting this information prior to starting will help you to calm your nerves and know what to expect ahead of time.
Check you can access everything you need from home
As you prepare for your new role from afar, try your best to hit the ground running by researching any tools and systems you will be using regularly in your job. If these are tools you have used before, check you can still access them from home. If you have not used them before, teach yourself the basics so you are well prepared on your first day and not overwhelmed with a wall of new information.
Any training necessary will obviously have a different format, so it would be a good idea to try and find out what this might entail and if you can get a head-start on it before starting your job.
Set your goals
One thing which remains the same is your need to set some personal goals for your first weeks and months at the job. This will help you to feel in control of your progress and workload, as well as bringing some normality into the WFH setting.
Keep up to date and on the same page as your manager or boss, and try to set up weekly one-to-one sessions to talk through your tasks and progress. Anything which helps you to keep in the loop will benefit you during this time working remotely.
Communication is key
Office communication is now more important than ever. Find out straight away how your office prefers to communicate. This could be via email, business communication platform such as Slack, or by direct internal phone calls. Learning the specific office etiquette early on will instantly help you to feel more connected to your colleagues and your role within the workplace.
Be sure to ask colleagues how they prefer to be contacted. Some people prefer email as it allows them time to respond and does not greatly disrupt their daily tasks. However, others prefer direct phone calls as they can give and get much quicker answers and discuss things more freely.
This is particularly important with your manager or boss. This person may have a lot of plates spinning at work and so cannot drop everything to answer your phone calls every five minutes. The best thing to do is ask them early on whether they prefer for you to pop up whenever you have a question about something, or to wait until you have several questions and drop them in an email all at once. Being in regular contact with your boss will help you to get to know them and understand their communication preferences better.
Get to know your colleagues
As strange as it may seem, getting to know your colleagues is the best way to feel integrated in your new office. You may wish to ask your boss to send out a quick email introducing you upon joining the team, this will make introductions with colleagues easier although you may have to reintroduce yourself a few times.
When getting to know colleagues, try to develop friendships as best you can. Chatting over video-call is better than messaging or emailing. If you have had extensive conversation with one particular person, ask them if they would like to have a quick catch-up over zoom. Ask them about their own role and how they are coping with working from home, and find any shared interests. In this way, you can find work buddies and build relationships like you would in any job, it’s just all a little more mechanical now.
Find out about your office’s social calendar as well, and join in with anything you can. This could be after-work drinks over zoom, or a weekly quiz. Showing your face as much as you can within the first few weeks will help people to know who you are, and you will quickly feel like part of the team.
Starting a new job from home while your boss and other colleagues are dealing with the transition at the same time is never going to be straightforward. While it may seem like a steep upward slope, there are some steps you can take to adjust yourself and prepare for what is to come. It is completely normal for this process to take longer than normal, just remember to be open and flexible to change, have a positive attitude, and be ready to work hard from the comfort of your own home.
Written by Emily Wright
Emily is a Media graduate and a keen writer. She enjoys exploring topics such as mental health and social politics, with a particular interest for how new technology can affect both mental and physical wellbeing.