You did it! You nailed the interview and now you have a new job and new challenges to look forward to. But suddenly panic sets in.
- How do you get to know your colleagues and the lay of the office when you can only connect digitally?
- What happens when you lose that personal connection that comes with an office setting?
This is the predicament that many are finding themselves in as Work-from-Home becomes the norm. Knowing how to navigate these new and uncharted waters will only make you a stronger and more successful (remote) employee.
According to research conducted by Stanford economist Nicholas Bloom, roughly 42% of the U.S. labor force is working remotely full-time, and long-term remote work will continue to grow. For those who are starting remote work from day one, the challenges are greater than for those who went directly from the office to work-from-home.
In order to succeed, start with the following tips.
Take time to celebrate your new job!
Set up a new workspace
Connect with your manager
Set communication preferences
Get to know your team
Accept the learning curve
You worked hard to get to this point. It almost certainly was not easy to land a new job during a pandemic. Don’t dismiss this accomplishment simply because you have too many things to do. Savor the moment and decompress from the interview process. Don’t let impostor syndrome (a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts her skills, talents or accomplishments) get the best of you. Write down your strengths and accomplishments, and post them in your workspace to remind you of why you were picked for the job in the first place.
Whether you’re redoing an old workspace or creating a new one from a spare room or even a corner in a larger room, make it your own. Set up your space to be focused and organized, and personalize it with your favorite items. The psychological benefits of creating something new will help you embrace your new job and the challenges that will come with it.
It’s important to set up your work network early. Early on, have a more in-depth conversation with your manager as to her expectations for you in your new job. Find out what her priorities are and how that will affect the priorities you set for yourself. Show that you are willing to do whatever it takes to be a valued member of the team, and be ready to bring as many ideas and solutions to the table.
Learning to communicate with your manager and other team members is more important than ever now that you are doing it remotely. Ask for their preferred method of communication (email, texting, video or phone) and let them know yours. Also ask if there’s a preferred time, frequency, agenda and format as to how your manager likes to communicate. Keep in mind that you no longer have the luxury of communicating face-to-face. Be mindful of how you present your ideas and the pace and tone in which they are communicated. It is much easier to apologize in-person than to try to smooth things over through a text or video. Sincerity comes across better face-to-face, so avoid any mishaps by being more mindful of how you communicate right from the start.
Open floor plan offices were created to enable freeform collaboration. As a remote worker, you no longer have an office in which you can easily run into a fellow colleague to swap ideas. Now is the time for some creative networking. Set aside 30 minutes each week to get to know the people you work with directly, such as your manager and peers. It may be a regular video chat, a teleconference call, a Slack chat, or a variation between them. As you get to know people, ask for their advice and opinion on who they think you should meet that would be of benefit to you and your job. Your new colleagues might be willing to set up a meeting, or you may want to try doing it on your own. A quick email to someone will allow them to connect to you in their own time. Internal networking is part of doing your job well and will help build your career. Lastly, nurture these relationships as time goes on. Get to know your team members on a more personal level. Express a real interest in their lives beyond work by asking about their families and how you might help them during the pandemic. Setting up a nightly check-in or meeting to help a parent who is dealing with homeschooling can only strengthen your bond as team members.
Remember, this Remote Work is all entirely new. Give yourself some slack. You will make mistakes and it will take some time to adjust. Take the first few months on the job to ask as many questions about the company and about your role, and give yourself sufficient time to settle in. You will be a better employee for it and you will further your career in the process.
(written by: Denise)