Settling into a new job is never easy, but when you have to find your feet completely remotely, it can be even more challenging. Whilst the business will likely do most of the heavy lifting in terms of getting you set up and introducing you to the team, it’s still important to be proactive from your side, ensuring that you have booked in brief chats with relevant team members, that you have a list of questions you need the answers to, and that you seek out mentors, amongst other things. Being proactive helps fast-track your onboarding, whilst still being effective.
Whilst adoption of remote working was already increasing, COVID-19 accelerated the movement to remote working and working from home. Whilst many businesses quickly enforced freezing hires and juggled with furlough and redundancies, some businesses were lucky and resilient enough to survive the sudden volatility of the social and economic climate. Some of those businesses managed to continue to hire, but with that came issues of onboarding. What I discovered was that so many resources for onboarding remotely are aimed at businesses, rather than the employee, so I wanted to create something to help those new starters.
Even as we emerge from the pandemic and remote working is no longer enforced at a government level, there is a continued shift in attitude towards remote working, with more and more roles offering part or fully remote working options. To move with this trend, I wanted to summarise some top tips for candidates who are starting a new role remotely, to ensure they settle in and acclimatise to the new role as smoothly as possible.
If you’re going to be working from home regularly, it’s so important to find yourself a specific working place at home, whether that’s an office space or just the dining table and invest in good equipment to make it a comfortable and productive space. Where possible try to sit on an ergonomic chair and use a laptop stand so it is positioned at eye level to reduce back ache.
Whilst your company should provide the essentials (keyboard, mouse, stand), it’s often worth investing in your space by considering your seating, lighting, and overall comfort. This will set you up for success and productivity.
Ensure you have a meeting set up with your line manager either before you start, or on your first day so you can ask important questions around how the team communicates (preferred channels), what business processes and protocols you need to be aware of, where business resources and documents are kept, and any of business-critical queries.
Whilst most businesses will arrange meetings and introductions on your behalf, it’s great to be proactive and ensure you have booked in 5 – 10-minute talks with people you will be working with. This will give you a chance to ask questions, build relationships, understand the culture, and pick up on any workplace jargon. Normally this social aspect of starting a new role would naturally occur in the office when you grab a coffee or are on your lunch break, but remotely, it’s up to you to form these relationships through manufactured conversations.
It’s important to remember that these conversations don’t have to just be fully work related. This is a chance to build relationships as well. It’s through these conversations you can identify common values, processes, attitudes, and goals.
A new job at a new company will often mean new processes, new protocols, new ways of working, and new technologies. The best way to navigate all of this is by quickly establishing a group of people who you can use as mentors. These people should help you connect you with other important employees and also talk you through all the HR processes such as booking holidays and claiming expenses.
Having these mentors early on is really important when working remotely, as they will help you settle in and find your place in the business much faster. It will also provide you with an easy point of contact for quick questions.
In the office, it can be noticeable if your confused or struggling as people are more likely to read your body language. When working on your own, remotely, this is impossible. Therefore, you need to get comfortable with asking lots of questions, which is where having that mentoring team is invaluable. Managers and leaders would much rather you ask lots of questions, than get stuck on a task for a long time. Asking questions will help you learn faster and become more efficient.
In the office, problem solving is much easier because you can just stand up and ask someone close by for help. When you’re relying on Slack channels, or Teams chats, problems and questions can quickly get lost in lots of noise. Therefore, if you have a question that you are waiting for an answer on, it can be really useful to write this down in a diary, so you don’t forget to follow it up with your mentors or colleagues.
So many people have had to learn how to work in a remote environment, and the shift has been a learning curve for so many people. Mistakes will happen and not everything will run as smoothly as you’d perhaps like it to. It’s so important that you remember you are starting a new job, which is always a challenge in itself, and doing so remotely is even more challenging. Remember to be patient with yourself as you learn the ropes and always be kind to yourself.
It’s never easy joining a new team and company and onboarding remotely into a new organisation makes the process even more challenging, but remember that whether your role is temporarily remote, or permanently remote, there are ways you can be proactive and more easily acclimatise to your new team and business. Whilst the business will likely do most of the heavy lifting around onboarding, by taking steps independently you will quickly get to a more stable place where you are able to demonstrate your value and skillset.
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Maxwell Bond is the recruitment partner of choice for top tech and digital candidates around the UK and Germany, helping to connect them with the most exciting and innovative businesses from start-ups and SMEs to global corporations. We offer award-wining consultancy services which support you through every step of your job search, CV distribution, interviews, hiring, negotiation, and onboarding.
If you’re looking for a new role, whether that’s in-office, remote, or something in between, you can browse Maxwell Bond’s current opportunities here.