It’s natural to have first-day jitters when you start a new job. But what happens when your first day is done remotely?
With many organizations still working from home and more considering every day that this may become the new standard at their organization, it’s likely you may find yourself starting a job without the typical in-person experience to get oriented with the company, with your manager and also meet the rest of your team so you can start to settle in.
Employers have a lot to consider with getting a remote worker started with an organization, but it doesn’t all fall on them. There are a few important things to think about ahead of time as a remote worker so you can set yourself up for success from day one.
Figure Out Your Working Space and Routine
One of the most important things to consider when it comes to working remotely is ensuring you have a space designated for work where you can focus solely on work. You need to set boundaries, both to ensure high productivity and ensure your first few weeks you are efficient and proving your employee value.
Test Your Tech
For many of us working from home crept up on us quite quickly, so it’s worth ensuring you have all of the things you need to succeed in your new role. Is your WiFi strong enough to host zoom meetings or do you need to upgrade/get a repeater? Many employers will understand the need for these things and maybe happy to cover part or all of the expenses.
Create a Functional Space
Do your best to set yourself up in an area free from distractions, with natural light, and with enough space to work comfortably. If noise is an issue as you have a house full of kids, make sure you have some headphones handy to help you get in the zone.
When You Say You’re Going to be Available, Be Available.
As a new employee, you want to give the right impression and highlight your strong work ethic and make your manager feel they made the right choice in hiring you. You may feel tempted to put in extra hours to go the extra mile, but it’s also important to set boundaries and close your laptop for the day and spend some time with friends and family.
Make sure to fully communicate with your manager the hours you are going to be available to work and then be available during those hours through whatever communication methods your teams use. On the flip side, it’s also important to communicate to your manager and team any times that you need to be offline so that any urgent request or projects can be handled in an appropriate manner.
Joining Your Team
As a new remote employee, you’ll build stronger, more resilient relationships by driving the process rather than waiting for people to come to you, no matter how awkward this may feel at first. Set up video meetings with individual team members to get to know them or ask them out for a coffee now that restrictions are lifted.
When thinking about the relationships you want to build as a new remote employee, you should be focusing on two main types of people: someone who knows how things work with standard procedures, and someone who is well connected in the company to introduce you to others. Having people like this in your network at your new organization will help you get off to a strong start.
Under normal circumstances, you bump into your colleagues in the office and you start to integrate into the team and people become more and more familiar with you. As a remote worker, it may be important in the beginning to reintroduce yourself when on larger team calls with people you don’t regularly interact with. Before speaking, think about simply stating your name, your role, and that you’re new to the company.
Work On Communication
1. How Do You Communicate?
Every organization has adopted different procedures and protocols for working remotely, and every team within an organization may have different channels they regularly use. It can often go even further than that with specific members of your team preferring a specific channel of communication to another. Take the time to speak with your team and find out the ways they work and how best you can communicate with them going forward (and also keep in mind working remotely may be new to them, so they may be figuring it all out still).
2. Continual Communication
Once you have established the best channel of communication, now comes the part that takes a little more conscious effort: the actual act of continual, open communication. Speak to your boss and see about setting up a weekly or bi-weekly check-in that you can come prepared to with the tasks you’re currently working on, what’s next, and any questions you may have.
3. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions
This brings us to our last communication point! As a new employee, you can feel out of your depth at times, and when working remotely, it may exacerbate this feeling, so don’t be afraid to ask questions! Hop on a quick call and just double check you’re on the right page before you start a task for the first time.
Be an Engaged Member of Staff
Seek Out Opportunities
Not only for those working remotely but as a new start in general sometimes you can feel like you haven’t got much on your plate in the beginning. Once you start to find your footing and have a sense of how your team work and communicate, look to seek out new opportunities and assist on projects that weren’t immediately assigned to you.
On a zoom call with your team speaking about a new project that your colleague is spearheading? Ask them if they need a hand with some of the smaller tasks. As your team starts to see how well you can work to support them, your plate will start to fill.
One of the top tips we can give you is to understand the expectations that your team and management have of you in your new role. As a remote worker, it can be difficult to know if you’re on the right track, so establish what is expected of you, what your deliverables are on specific projects, and establish any deadlines as necessary.
Consider working with your boss to outline benchmark goals that you should be working towards across your first few months and then work to meet those goals. As you begin to meet and exceed goals, your manager will start to feel more comfortable giving you independence and responsibility in your role.