Whether you’ve recently accepted an exciting new role, or you’re contemplating moving jobs during the Covid-19 pandemic, the thought of starting a new job remotely has probably crossed your mind.
This form of remote onboarding is likely to be the case for several weeks and months to come – particularly if your role is office based - as companies begin to ramp up their recruitment processes while implementing social distancing measures.
With any new job comes the expected flutter of nervous butterflies, but during current circumstances it’s more than ok to feel a little apprehensive about your remote induction plan. It’s important to try to keep this as an exciting experience, and although you won’t be able to meet your new colleagues over a cuppa in the kitchen or physically attend training sessions, there are plenty of measures you can take to ensure the experience is as successful as possible.
The best way to calm those first-day nerves is by being prepared – especially when setting up your office from home.
Your new company should provide you in advance with everything you’ll need to begin remote working - laptop/computer, phone etc. Ensure you’re equipped with IT’s contact details and aim to set up your working space ahead of your first day. This will help to minimise any disruptions and get you up and running as quickly as possible.
Do your research. Despite not physically being in the office, it’s important to have a good understanding of the company culture. You may have received materials around this during the recruitment process. If not, ask HR to send you any company videos or virtual office tours they might have. Social media channels are also a good place to seek out a behind-the-scenes look at a company and use LinkedIn/‘meet the team’ pages to see who you’ll be working alongside.
Don’t be scared to ask lots of questions. It’s bound to feel different starting a new role when you’re not in the same space as your manager and colleagues. If you’re unsure about something, don’t try to second guess the answer. You could waste several hours figuring out something which a colleague could answer for you in five minutes. These are difficult circumstances for us all and anyone will understand your queries and questions.
End each day of your first week looking back through your schedule and seeing what tasks you completed well and which you could benefit from further training or guidance for. Make a note of any obstacles you faced to discuss with your line manager the following day.
Keep a routine
When starting a new job remotely it’s vital to keep to a routine. Try to take your lunch at the same time as you would if you were in the office and take regular tea breaks to stretch your legs.
It’s important to differentiate ‘work life’ from ‘home life’ – you could try going for a quick walk before and after your work day to give you a sense of commuting and, if at all possible, set up your work area in a separate space to where you’ll be spending the rest of your free time. Find more tips on successfully working from home here.
Even if you think it will help you make a good first impression during your initial few weeks, you should aim to finish each day on time. It’s easy to get into the habit of working late, but unless it’s something urgent it’s important more now than ever to look after your mental health - and working long hours during lockdown won’t help with that.
Raise any concerns
Touch base with your line manager regularly, giving them updates on how you’re progressing, any tasks you’ve completed and any issues you’re struggling with. Without both of you physically being in the office, it will be difficult for them to gauge how well you’re coping with your workload or the speed at which you work. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with tasks or finding yourself twiddling your thumbs, let them know.
If you have any issues or concerns raise these with an appropriate colleague. It’s easy to over-think problems while working from home, so the sooner these are addressed the better.
One of the key elements missing from working from home is the social aspect – and this is particularly important when starting a new role.
Zoom has become everyone’s best friend during lockdown, and you’ll become well acquainted with it during your induction to a new job. Set up virtual meetings with those you’ll be working closest with – ideally one-on-one and within your first week. It doesn’t have to be anything formal, just a nice way to get to know your team members.
Many companies have been great at keeping up morale via weekly virtual meetings, quizzes, Friday beers and competitions. If you’re invited to a social ‘event’ be sure to attend. It may seem a bit daunting meeting people for the first time via a computer screen (especially if there’s a lot of them there), but you’ll thank yourself for doing so.
Remind people who you are when signing off your emails, send around an introductory email to those within your team when you first start (and set up that Zoom meeting at the same time), and ask for a minute at the beginning of any virtual calls to announce yourself as new.
When communicating with others, do so in a neutral and formal style. It will be difficult to gauge what tone to use and how informal you can be with them initially over email and telephone. Along similar lines, there will be workplace jargon you’ll have to become accustomed to. This lingo may be specific to your new company, so if you’re unsure what something means, ask.
Instead of heading to the pub on your first Friday why not suggest a virtual drink with your new teammates. And be sure to celebrate the end of your first week from the comfort of your own home – bottle of fizz and takeaway anyone?
Keep points for starting a new job remotely:
- Be prepared – ensure you’re properly set up ahead of your first day.
- Ask questions – if you don’t know the answer to something or you’re struggling with a task ask someone who can help.
- Check in with your line manager regularly.
- Be patient – this is a unique experience for everyone, so you’re bound to run into the odd issue.
- Be proud of yourself – even if you find the first few weeks a little difficult, remember that your new employer saw potential in you to offer you the role in the first place.
- Enjoy! A new job is an exciting experience – even if it’s conducted remotely.
If you’re considering a career move in the near future, many of the clients we work with within the pharma and life sciences sectors are still hiring remotely and our expert consultants will guide you every step of the way. You can view our live vacancies here or get in touch with us today if you need any further advice with regards to starting a new job remotely.