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Top Tips for Starting a New Job Remotely

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On joining Scantec as Talent Acquisition Manager on 4th January, I didn’t expect to have just one day in the office for my induction before the government announced National Lockdown 3.0! I’ll be honest, this has presented some challenges along the way (although mainly due to my own technical abilities/inabilities!) and while my experience of joining Scantec has been a positive one, there have been a few key differences to adapt to when joining the business remotely. 

Having worked in recruitment for over a decade, I like to think that I am pretty resilient and resourceful but there have definitely been learns along the way so I decided I would share some of my insight into starting a new job remotely, and a few practical top tips for ensuring you also have a positive experience should you be considering a career move or be about to embark on your next role at this strange time.

 

Agree times for training and update meetings…

No doubt your line manager will have planned a thorough induction and training schedule for your first day and week in the business prior to you joining the team.  But whereas in the office where you can often grab a quick few minutes for some ad hoc training or to catch up, this becomes more challenging when working remotely. It’s been invaluable to me to have been able to diarise regular slots with my manager for a video or phone call.  I’d really recommend in your first few weeks at least, agreeing with your line manager some dedicated time, as little or as often as you need, to discuss challenges, ideas, progress, company news as well as being important for building a sense of rapport.

 

Meet the team – virtually…

Ordinarily you would do face to face introductions in your first week in the office.  Although you’re working from home, it’s still important to get to know your colleagues, not just to understand the business and what roles they do, but to foster a sense of team, collectiveness and feeling part of the business.  Working from home can be isolating, especially if you have previously been part of a close-knit team who you had daily interaction or level of friendship with.  Don’t be afraid to reach out.  Ask for an org chart, ask your line manager who you will need to build working relationships with to do your job effectively and send them a quick message to introduce yourself and arrange a video call for a 5 / 10 / 30-minute introduction.  It makes all the difference.  Attend those team / company-wide update video calls. It can be daunting seeing 20+ faces staring back at you on a company zoom call but turn your camera on and give them a wave – I promise they will wave back!

 

Make notes, lots of them…

When you start a new job, there is always a lot to learn, from processes, to IT systems, to who’s who as well as the day-to-day practicalities of your role.  That is a lot of new information to retain. I read somewhere that after one hour, people retain less than half of the information they’ve been presented with and this falls to more than 70% forgotten a day later! Wow!

Working remotely, it is vital to make plenty of notes to refer back to as you won’t have the same support network as you would in a busy office where you are surrounded by your colleagues and can ask a quick question to the person sat next to you.  Doing this has helped me to feel able to work more independently and be less reliant on asking for help.  Of course, it’s not fool proof, there will absolutely be times when you need to seek out advice or support but that’s ok.

 

Write down any questions you have as you go…

As I mentioned above, those quick ad hoc questions you can ask the team when you’re sat in an office together are not as easy to ask when you’re sat alone at your kitchen table / bedroom / garden shed! My solution has been to write down any points I need to check on and create a tick list to go through when I’m next speaking to my line manager. By doing this you make sure you’re not struggling in silence to find the answer and don’t have to pick up the phone every 2 minutes (I’m inquisitive - I always have a lot of questions!).

 

Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone…

Following on from that though, don’t be afraid to pick up the phone, dial a teams / zoom call / send an email and ask for help – you won’t be expected to know it all and, in my experience, your team will be more than happy to help answer your questions – they want you to succeed.

 

Set yourself a day plan EVERY day…

Now, I’ve always written myself a plan for the next day before I log off each evening anyway but working from home and especially learning a new job from home, it’s even more important.  It gives you structure, helps you identify your priorities for the day ahead and also means with all the information you are taking in and learning, important tasks don’t get forgotten. I mean, this isn’t just a top tip for starting a new job, this is a top tip for life in general, surely?!

 

Set SMART goals and objectives…

After your first few weeks of settling into the job, try to set some clear goals and objectives to work towards.  Think about what you want to achieve, where your priorities lie and how you plan to get there.  Discuss with your manager what is realistic and look at the month ahead, and even the next 6 months to a year.  Not only will this give you direction and focus, but it will help to keep you on track on the days when you may find yourself missing the motivation you get from being surrounded by colleagues.

 

Schedule in regular breaks…

With all the information you have to learn when starting any new job, it can leave you feeling ready for your bed by 7pm but even more so if you’re figuring it all out remotely!  It’s also natural to feel as though you need to be ever-present at your laptop to make a good impression.  This means that you may find yourself sat in one place, concentrating for long periods of time and no doubt feeling mentally exhausted by the end of the day as well as needing a chiropractor! 

Therefore, it’s important to take a few minutes every hour to step away from your laptop, stretch, take a breath, make a drink, run a lap around the garden… It’s good for your body and mind.  With the dark evenings now we’re in winter, I’ve been taking the opportunity to go for a 30-minute walk round the block on my lunch break to get some fresh air and recharge ready for the afternoon ahead. Take this advice, you’ll feel better for it.

 

And finally, don’t be too hard on yourself…

I’ll be honest, there was a moment in my 2nd week in the job where I was frustrated. Frustrated at how little I knew, how little I was able to do independently, how little impact I was making, and I started questioning whether I’d ever get there.  I realised at that point I needed to have a word with myself!  Coming from a role and a business you know inside out and where you have established relationships, it can be a real adjustment to take on something new and it will take time to find your feet. 

It is 100% normal to want to know it all straight away, make a good impression, see results, but you need to build the foundations of your knowledge first.  Don’t be too hard on yourself.  There is a lot to take in when starting any new job and especially when beginning a new job remotely, it can present that little bit more of a challenge but have faith and you will get there!  

 

While the idea of starting a new job remotely may seem daunting at first, with a bit of creativity and by applying these practical tips, there’s nothing to stop you making a successful start to your new job.  If you’ve been holding back on applying for your next role, then I say just go for it!

If you are a recruiter looking for your next challenge, why not get in touch for a confidential discussion about the opportunities we have here at Scantec.  I’m always happy to share my experience and learn about yours!