If you are starting a new job soon, you may find yourself not being able to join your office in the traditional way – but instead facing the challenge of getting to know your new role, new manager, and new colleagues, remotely.
Calum Fuller recently started his new role remotely as editor of AT magazine at Redactive Media Group. The interview process for his role had been conducted prior to lockdown and, by the time restrictions came in, everything was agreed and signed.
“It’s an odd experience,” he says. “My employer was very accommodating and couriered a laptop out to me ahead of my start date, so it was just a case of making sure everything worked and ensuring I had the right software installed.”
Calum says he did what he could to make things easier, such as introducing himself to key colleagues by email and video calls as early as possible, being as communicative as possible and being proactive in moments when he was unsure of what to do.
“While it seems strange at first, you can take solace from the fact it quickly becomes second nature,” he explains.
Here’s how to ensure a smooth start
- Arrange introductory chats
When you start, reach out to your new colleagues and organise quick introductory phone or video chats. Your manager may organise these meetings for you, but if not, this is something you can easily do yourself. Make these chats regular, too – this will help you get to know your new manager, workmates and the company better. To encourage introductions, announce yourself as the new team member in any online meetings, communications or emails.
2. Find mentors and build networks
Many workplaces implement “buddy” systems, where new starters are paired with colleagues that can help them navigate through their first few weeks or months. You can also be proactive and find your own buddy or mentor that can help you figure things out – this could be one person or even multiple people.
Art Markman, author of Bring Your Brain To Work: Using Cognitive Science To Get A Job, Do It Well, And Advance Your Career, says that usually when you start in a new office, you’re more likely to develop these relationships slowly. However, when you start working for a company remotely, the faster you find people who will be helpful to you, the better. You will be able to become more productive a lot faster if you put some good mentors in place, Art explains.
3. Get involved
Get involved as soon as possible with your new team. Whether that’s joining your team’s chat on WhatsApp or Skype, it will help you build rapport and get a sense of the social culture. It’s also important to ensure you are subscribed to your company’s internal communications, so you don’t miss out on any updates.
4. Ask for help when you need it
It’s important to ask for help when you need it, so you are able to carry on with your work and not feel stuck. When you’re communicating with your manager and colleagues over Zoom or over the phone, it may be a bit harder for them to notice if you’re confused or if you’re struggling – so speak up and ask them to clarify.
If you feel worried about bothering your new manager or workmates, or if you feel like you’re asking too many questions, keep a daily diary of any queries or issues to be resolved. Then you can bring up any questions you may have at an appropriate time, such as the morning meeting.
- Reach out to your new colleagues and organise quick introductory phone or video chats. This will help you get to know everyone better.
- Find a buddy or mentor that can help you figure things out. You will be able to become more productive a lot faster if you put some good mentors in place.
- Join your team’s chat on WhatsApp or Skype to get involved as soon as possible with your new team. It will help you build rapport.
- Keep a daily diary of any queries or issues to be resolved, then bring up any questions you may have at an appropriate time.
- How to onboard staff in a remote team
- Remote control: how to manage and motivate a virtual team
- Tips for moving from classroom to remote study
The content team are the owners of AAT Comment.