Starting a new job remotely
Make sure you have a successful first few weeks in your new role with our comprehensive guide on how to start a new job while working from home.
What with new responsibilities, new colleagues and new challenges, a new role can be nerve-wracking even for highly experienced professionals - and even more so if you’re starting a new job remotely
Because of the various health and safety guidelines implemented to reduce the impact of the ongoing Coronavirus crisis, an increasing number of employers across the UK are interviewing and onboarding new staff entirely virtually. If you’re set to start a new job in the coming weeks or months, you may well be doing so from home.
Due to the unique challenges associated with virtual onboarding, we decided to put together this guide on how to be successful as you start a new job remotely.
Ask your new employer about their onboarding process
One of the first things you should do is reach out to your new manager or someone in HR to find out what you can about your upcoming onboarding. Your new employer might already be used to welcoming new staff remotely or it may be that they are still getting to grips with this new way of working. Either way, you will feel more comfortable about starting your new job from home if you know what to expect in the first few weeks.
Make your workspace work
To be productive and efficient while working from home, you need to create a comfortable workspace that contains all the equipment, tech and resources you need. This is even more important if you’re going to be working from home for an indefinite period. Your new employer may provide a laptop, desk, chair or other equipment, so double check before you buy anything yourself.
Introduce yourself… and then introduce yourself again
At the start of any new job you will find yourself making many introductions, but when you’re starting a new job remotely it may take even longer for you to become familiar to your colleagues. It’s likely that your manager will send around an email or introduce you to the team some other way on your first day, but if not then it’s a good idea to send one yourself. It doesn’t need to be too detailed, here are a couple of examples:
“Hi, I’m Keith and I’m the new Administrator. I’m looking forward to working with you all!”
“Hello, it’s nice to e-meet you all! I’m Emily, the new IT Support Specialist and I’m excited to be working with you all.”
For the first few days, you might need to remind people who you are and what you do when contacting colleagues via email or speaking on a video call.
Learn about your new team
It’s important to find out who does the different jobs within your team so you know who to turn to for help when the need arises. We recommend also finding out about contacts in IT, HR or any other support function who you may need to speak to or work with in future.
Take the time to understand your role...
Unlike in the workplace, you won’t have a boss around to nudge you in the right direction or any coworkers to ask questions to. Therefore, when you start a new job remotely it’s vital that you know everything you possibly can about your goals and how to achieve them. If any aspect of your role is unclear, or even if you just want to double check something, make sure to ask.
...but be flexible if your responsibilities change
It’s key for you to understand the duties of your new role, but it’s also important to be flexible and open to the fact that some of your usual responsibilities may change temporarily while everyone continues to get used to remote working.
Find out how your team communicates
For a successful start to your new job and to make sure you don’t miss any key information, you’ll need to find out how your team communicates. Which apps and tools do they use to chat, take video calls and collaborate on projects? Make sure to note which communication methods are preferred by different members of your team - for example, some people will prefer to resolve quick queries with an instant message than a telephone call.
Ask all the questions (and more)
While working remotely with new people on new tasks, it’s all too easy to interpret a brief incorrectly. To ensure you deliver great work to deadlines, you should be asking as many questions as possible. Each time you take on a new duty or piece of work, arrange a quick call to find out what the priorities are and what you need to achieve.
Build relationships and be friendly
For a smooth, happy transition into your new job, it’s important to start building relationships with your new colleagues as soon as you can. We suggest reaching out to the people you’ll be working closely with and inviting them for a video chat to get to know each other. Take this opportunity not only to find out more about their role and about the projects they’re working on, but also ask about their hobbies and interests. Think of these informal catch ups as the virtual alternative to an office tea break.
Make sure to switch off
It’s your first few weeks on the job and you want to impress your new boss and colleagues - we totally get it. However, you will only be able to deliver your best when you’re maintaining a healthy work/life balance. Take regular breaks throughout the day, start and finish work on time and turn your email notifications off over the weekend to avoid burning out. If you’re having trouble switching off, check out this handy article.
Good luck to everyone starting a new job remotely in the coming weeks and months!