3 Steps to Starting Strong in Your New Job While Working From Home
Starting a new job is never easy, add to this starting that new role remotely, in a city on lockdown while we deal with a global pandemic, and it makes for a pretty daunting experience. As a recruitment agency, we help people to navigate these strange circumstances, but that doesn’t mean we’re immune to them ourselves.
As the new Launch Branch Manager for Victoria, I’ve had the pleasure of going through this exact experience. Starting my new role two months into our strict lockdowns, unable to interact in-person with any of my colleagues or usual stakeholders.
To say it’s been a strange experience is an understatement. Still, the experience has certainly helped me, and our team, to more intimately understand the challenges that new employees are facing.
To counter this, I worked out a three-step process that gets me through and may just be able to help anyone going into the same situation.
You may not have had the opportunity to meet the team or even experience your new office environment, but don’t let that create any extra stress before your start date. Most organisations these days have a comprehensive Digital Footprint. Take some time to familiarise yourself with the new team and future surroundings. Ask your new manager/company for the names and titles of some of your new colleagues and peers so you can jump on LinkedIn, update your profile and connect with a short note saying something like “Hey, I’m the newbie, and I look forward to meeting you.” Of course, that language may not be right for every role, but you get the gist. Put yourself out there, be proactive in meeting your colleagues, and you’ll be more prepared and calm for your start date.
Rather than a new shiny office in the CBD, I got to start my new role from the comfort of my kitchen table, where my wife is also working remotely, and our attention is regularly requested from our toddler and dog. Needless to say, it’s busy and not ideal for absolute focus.
To get the most out of our days, my wife and I do a quick check-in every morning to see what meetings we have and lock in the times so that we can back each other up if needed. We also set up contingency plans for when our toddler is home from day-care, if the dog starts barking randomly at nothing, and even for cases where the postie turns up and absolutely has to have our signature in return for our package.
While these little interruptions may be all part of the new normal amongst your colleagues, they’re less than ideal when you’re doing a Client Presentation that everything is riding on. Having a plan can save your bacon. Mute the doorbell, put the dog out the back, feed the child, and put your partner in charge so you can be sure to kill it in your meeting!
Additionally, don’t forget to test your computer set up a few days prior to starting. You will be meeting your new team as a tile on a computer screen, so it’s worth considering the background of the shot, the angle of the camera, the lighting and also if there is enough room for your keyboard, notes, coffee, and all other essentials for your productivity.
With your all-too-familiar home set up replacing the office, it can be easy to be a little too comfortable in your surroundings, but you only get one chance for a first (and second) impression. It is important to be as engaging, smiling, enthusiastic as possible as you build new relationships and try to impress in your new job.
To energise for the day ahead, I like to walk in the morning, get some stretching in and have a coffee in hand for that 9 am Zoom, so I’m always giving the best version of myself. This gets harder after the 6th meeting of the day, but the next meeting is just as important as the first when you’re building your brand in this new role. Do what you need to perk yourself up through the day and always put your best face forward.
To get more engaged with your colleagues, check what platforms the company has (Slack, WhatsApp, Teams, etc.) and seek out the social channels where the foodies and Netflix critics hang out to further expand on your social interactions.
While first days (and months) are always going to be stressful, being prepared, and planned ahead will go a long way in helping you to perform at your best and tackle your role as you would if you had all the normal benefits. For more tips on navigating this new world, check out the Launch blog, or give us a call to discuss what you’d like to do next.