Tips for starting a new job remotely
By Sarah Wood
Since March last year, many people have been working remotely. And for some people that even means starting a new job and going straight into remote working.
Starting your new job remotely rather than in the office can feel like quite a daunting prospect, as you don't get to meet your new colleagues and manager in person.
For anyone finding themselves in this situation, recruitment specialists Hays have come up with a useful guide.
Ensure you have a remote 'knowledge buddy'
Joining a new company means adjusting to new ways of doing things. Processes that might seem simple when you've been in a company for a while may feel completely alien to you when you're new - from booking annual leave to internal acronyms and project names.
With nobody at the next desk to ask for advice, managers should allocate new employees a 'knowledge buddy' who can help to answer any questions about company processes or information.
Agree with your buddy how best to communicate with them - whether it is an email every time you have a question or a catch-up call twice a week to deal with all of your queries.
Familiarise yourself with new technology
If you are having a new computer delivered ready for when you start your new role remotely, ensure you test out both the hardware and software before your start date, so that you're comfortable with using it all.
And don't forget to test your device's video and sound settings before your first day, so that you're ready for your introductory calls. This will help to not only alleviate any anxieties or nerves around those meetings, but it also demonstrates to your new manager that you are proactive and prepared.
Set yourself SMART goals
After your first week or so, you should start to feel comfortable with your key responsibilities and areas of focus. The next thing to do, is to work with your manager to set yourself some SMART goals for what you would like to achieve within your first month, six months and year in your new role. These are goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-scaled.
Your early goals don't necessarily have to be large ones. The important thing is that they will help you to keep focused in the initial weeks and months in your new role. This will enable you to avoid 'drifting' or 'coasting' in the absence of colleagues physically surrounding you, and without those everyday positive reinforcements you would receive if you were in the office, keeping you on track.
Keep up high standards of punctuality
Working from behind a computer at home feels different to office working, but it doesn't mean you should be any less punctual than you would be in person. This includes not just starting work on or before your start time, but also ensuring you are joining meetings on time, if not a minute or so early.
Also, be sure to respond to any questions, requests or messages from your manager, team members, stakeholders or clients promptly, to perpetuate your positivity and willingness to help from the outset.
Don't hesitate to ask questions
When starting your new role remotely, don't shy away from asking important questions about what your work in the coming weeks and months will involve - or any questions around your new role!
It's in the interests of your new manager and colleagues that you make a strong start in your new role, as much as it is in yours - so they will be more than happy for you to ask as many questions as you like. No question is ever a stupid question - it's more important that you ask, so that you can be sure you're on the right track and avoid any misunderstandings.
Get involved with your new team
Don't feel deterred from involving yourself in your new team, just because you're working remotely. If you're introverted and don't feel confident to speak up in virtual meetings, make sure you're at least engaging with colleagues through means such as instant messaging or one-to-one calls.
You won't always be the newbie, so don't hesitate to be yourself and communicate regularly with your new colleagues in whatever way feels most natural for you from the outset.
Getting to know your new colleagues isn't just about discussing work and working together, either. You should also create opportunities for non-work-related conversations and activities, which will help build strong longer-term relationships with them.
Don't get into the habit of overworking
It can often be difficult for remote workers to draw the line between work and home, which can lead to them developing unhealthy working habits.
From the outset, it is important to establish a sustainable, productive routine that gives you a healthy work-life balance. One boundary to set would be to ensure you don't reply to emails late at night or at the weekend.
Also let your manager and colleagues know when you will usually take your lunch break, or specific times during the day that you'll need to leave your 'office' - for example to drop off and pick children up from school. They will then know when you're not available, which will reduce the chance of you missing calls or messages.
Another way to avoid overworking is to try and fit in a daily walk, or some other form of exercise. This could be at the end of your working day, to signal the end of work, Or maybe you'd prefer to walk before work, or at lunchtime, to help focus your brain when you return to your desk.
Get all of these tips and more on the Hays website.
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