With many of us having settled into hybrid working patterns after the last lockdown, staff are once more being encouraged to work remotely in line with government advice to stay safe during the rise in Covid cases.
If, like thousands of UK workers, you were part of the “great resignation”, that is: one of a record number of people quitting their jobs after lockdown, there’s a high likelihood that you’ll be starting your new role around now.
What happens when your onboarding experience – a process that usually relies heavily on face-to-face interaction – is fully remote? Read on for our top tips on setting yourself up for success from your home workspace…
Before you start
- Familiarise yourself with the technology. Try to find out which programmes and tools the organisation uses and learn the basics to help you feel a bit more grounded on your first day.
Your first week
- Identify who can help you. From raising IT issues to decoding acronyms or booking annual leave, there will be people who hold the keys to this knowledge. Do some digging and get to know these people ASAP so you can get all your systems in place.
- Schedule short introductory calls with team members. You may not have the opportunity to do a lap of the office but you still want people to know you’ve arrived. Reach out and set up 15-minute intros in which you can describe your background and how you’re hoping to add value in your role. This helps to establish rapport with colleagues before you may, for example, get thrown into a project with them.
- Take notes! Note people’s names, job roles and any soundbites you can gather during your first week. Details can be hard to absorb when you’re distracted by all the other elements at play during onboarding. Making a conscious effort to record small details will help you bed in faster and engage in more meaningful conversations.
- You will have lots of questions. This is actively encouraged if you want to get under the skin of your new role quickly. However, you want to do so in a way that is mindful and courteous to your colleagues who are themselves grappling with the challenges of remote working. Define the parameters of how you’ll feed your questions through to them. Are they happy to be messaged ad-hoc or would they prefer a regular catch-up where you can work through questions systematically?
- Work on your video presence. Good video call etiquette is an easy win. Have the basics down: look at the camera instead of the screen, make sure your background portrays an orderly working space, be well lit: don’t underestimate the transformative qualities of a ring light! On top of this, ensure that your body language shows that you’re engaged and actively listening.
- Take advantage of the ability to use prompts: If there’s one advantage to remote meetings it’s that you can keep notes, prompts or even a full-on script, handy to fall back on. If you get overwhelmed speaking to a group, having something that you can read from will help you to articulate yourself without getting flustered.
Your first three months
- Set SMART goals: Use your 121s to help you draw up SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-sensitive) goals for each month or quarter. This puts you into a growth mindset and helps to keep you from coasting in the absence of colleagues around you. Having small, easily achievable goals under your main objectives will drip-feed you regular positive reinforcement. Using SMART goals demonstrates your motivation and helps your manager to recognise the value that you’re adding.
- Regular 121s with key players: It doesn’t need to be weekly but consider scheduling regular check-ins with people across your team. In the absence of being amongst the physical company culture, it’s helpful to hear your colleagues talk regularly about their work to allow you to pick up on the subtler elements of the company culture that you’d otherwise be missing, helping when the time comes to move back to the office.
- Maintain high standards of punctuality and responsiveness: Another easy win that goes a very long way. Dialling in to a 10:00am call at 10:01 a couple of times isn’t the end of the world, but doing this regularly will start posing questions around your commitment and respect for other people’s time. The same goes for email and instant message: whilst you may not be able to action a request straightaway, a courtesy acknowledgement within a reasonable time period allows you to set expectations, ask for missing information and instil confidence that the request is in hand.
Feeling disconnected? You’re not alone
Research from workplace learning platform HowNow released earlier this year showed that during the last lockdown, 67 per cent of employees reported feeling disconnected from their colleagues. If you’re feeling disconnected or demotivated, speak to your boss to discuss how you might be able to implement ways to boost your productivity and satisfaction rather than shoulder the issue alone; as chances are you’re not the only one.
Don’t feed in to a culture of overworking
Whilst it’s easy and tempting to ping off the odd work email after hours – after all, when you’re on video calls all day sometimes this is the only chance to play catch up. However, it’s important that in the absence of a commute, you’re setting clear boundaries and a healthy precedent with your co-workers. You may need to write an email after 5pm but to avoid perpetuating bad working habits, send it first thing the following morning.
Most importantly, you’re in your home environment where it’s safe and easy to be your authentic self, so take advantage of this and let the real you shine through! Celebrate small wins and positive feedback as these things make a huge difference to your development. And in a world where we’re navigating our way round remote working, a healthy dose of initiative applied to all situations is king.
If you would like to explore the current jobs we have on offer, we’d love to hear from you.
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