Tips for starting a new job remotely 

by Liz Benson

Starting a new job can be a daunting prospect. You need to learn an entirely new company culture and internal processes, familiarise yourself with new technologies and maybe a roster of clients, as well as get to know an entirely new team of people and how they work. Plus, if you take a promotion with your new job or switch careers/industries, you might need to learn an entirely new role while you do that.  

Against the backdrop of a global health crisis, workers across many different industries were faced with the prospect of learning all these things while also being subject to social distancing and other lockdown measures.

For many workers transitioning into a new role without ever setting foot in the office or meeting the team in person was a very real experience.  

We’ve compiled some of the tips that helped our newer team members make a smooth transition into remote working over the past 12 months. 

Go with the flow 

For many of us, taking on a new role is all about taking on a new challenge and embracing change. COVID-19 was a curveball many of us were not anticipating. It offered many lessons that we can apply to transitioning to a new role. One of the most important lessons is resilience and learning to be flexible.  

“Fake it ‘til you make it” is a popular approach to life, and this can be a useful strategy to employ while taking on a new role remotely. Being able to adapt to a new environment is critical. Sometimes you can find shortcuts by asking a new colleague or Googling your question.  

Getting to know you… via video  

One of the most useful tools over the past year has been video meeting platforms. Using tools like Zoom, Skype, Microsoft Teams, and more, can help you meet with clients and team members facetoface (albeit virtually) so you can still form a personal connection that doesn’t rely on email.  

Taking just a minute or two at the start of a video call to dabble in some water cooler gossip or chat on a more personal level can help you to form stronger connections with your colleagues, even if you’ve never met them in person.  

Let the work speak for itself 

When people can’t actually see you working, it can be difficult to demonstrate the value you’re adding to a company and why you were hired over other candidates.  

One bonus of working remotely means that you can avoid a lot of the distractions of the workplace. You can set up your ideal working environment, without needing to deal with changing office temperatures or your colleagues loud phone calls. You can choose your own music to work to if you need white noise, and really knuckle down and focus on your tasks.  

Remote working gives you a lot more control over your working environment, which means you can let the work speak for itself. Adding structure to your day can help you stick to deadlines, really get involved in deep work without potentially annoying distractions from colleagues, and even, in some cases, set your own hours and schedule for the day.  

Bring the authentic version of yourself each day 

For some of us, working remotely can be both a blessing and a curse. We are all human and we all have things to deal with outside of the workplace. When you work in an office, there’s a clear distinction between home life and work life, and it can be easier to separate the two and focus on the workday. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to compartmentalise this when working remotely, as you may often be surrounded by those other responsibilities, be they children, partners, pets, and more.  

Luckily, a significant portion of the Australian workforce has been in the same boat throughout the pandemic, which has helped many of us to find comfort in knowing we’re all human, and we’ve all got ‘stuff’ going on. Embracing those little interruptions can help us to find a common ground with our colleagues, and present a potentially more authentic version of ourselves each day.

This doesn’t mean we stray into the unprofessional and work in our pyjamas every day. However, it does mean that maybe we can share a little bit more of ourselves with our colleagues than we normally would. Perhaps your colleagues will see you in front of a bookcase that displays your love of science-fiction novels or cookbooks or see indoor plants growing behind youMany of us enjoy seeing each other’s pets in the background. 

To help our new team members settle in at The Recognition Group, we scheduled regular virtual catch ups with the whole team and spent time sharing bite-sized stories about ourselves based on topics shared in advance. We learnt about everyone’s favourite holidays, movies, Christmas plans, and more. We also shared “getting to know you” questionnaires so we could learn about each other’s interests. This helped our new employees get to know the team a bit better outside of the office, as well as reintroduced our established team members to each other.  

Working together isn’t just about sharing an office space. It’s about sharing a passion for good work, empathy for our teammates, and eagerness to collaborate with likeminded colleagues. Working remotely just adds another layer to that experience if you manage it right.