If you had told me two years ago that most of us would be working from home, the majority of interviews would be held via Skype or Teams, and the onboarding process would take place in the comfort of your living room, I would have laughed and said you were crazy - and I know I am not alone here! However, the global pandemic has drastically changed the traditional configuration of the working world, especially for those of us with a quote "office job."
If you fall in this boat, yes, we are incredibly fortunate to carry out our work from home. However, it does come with its challenges. So, the prospect of starting a new job remotely is in an entirely different challenge to what we're used to and can take some time to adjust. Here we will discuss some ways to help you ease into your new position from home.
Sounds ironic, I know, especially when glaring at someone through a screen, but human connection is a sure-fire way to feel more settled in your new job. Where you would usually have organic interactions or the trademarked "water cooler chat" in the office, this needs to be replaced with a more planned approach. Send an introductory email to your fellow teammates, keep it light and personal and arrange one-on-one catchups to get to know the people you work with. If possible, be sure to have your camera on so you can see each other to make the experience more engaging. Putting a face to the name on all of those email signatures will increase your comfortability levels by a mile!
Be sure to ask them how they handle working from home. Try to understand the nuances and how the company tends to operate in the new working world. Adapting to their working style will ensure a smoother transition when establishing yourself in the role and give you the confidence we all need when starting a new job.
But be sure to be authentic and have fun. Hold your fur baby up to the camera and introduce Mr. Fluffy, ask them what their hobbies are, and connect on a personal level. You might just find out you have the same local coffee spot and can meet in person!
Designating a part of your home as your workspace is essential, particularly for those who do not have an office. Creating an area solely for work will help you transition from comfort mode to work mode and vice versa. Things you need to consider when setting up your wfh station is lighting! There is nothing worse than being confined to a dark corner, and gone are the days where you're assigned to a desk. Find some natural light if you can and invest in a desk lamp. Make your space inviting, get a new plant, a laptop stand, clear away the mugs from your third cup of coffee. Create an inspiring space that makes you feel energised and ready to tackle the day.
And let your partner, kids, or roommates know that during work hours when you are in this space, they need to be conscious and self-aware. Make it clear that this is your "place of work," and between work hours, you expect the same level of courtesy you would get when it comes to being in the office.
Call, call, call
Sometimes an email works, and that is great. But when it comes to learning the ropes, you often find that most of it come from those impromptu chats with your colleague. Unfortunately, when working remotely, it isn't as easy as turning in your swivel chair to ask a quick question, so don't be scared to pick up the phone and call. Or better yet, send a short message in teams and ask for a quick video call. Again, this strengthens interpersonal relationships, and it leaves you less stressed, frantically trying to conjure up answers on your own. And of course, there are the added technological advantages such as screen sharing, so someone can run you through that excel spreadsheet with more ease instead of hoping you're on the same page.
You're learning, and everyone in your team should expect to be tapped on the shoulder (virtually of course), to lend a helping hand. But, remember, they are in the same boat. No one is an expert at this working from home business just yet!
Be patient with yourself
Starting a new job remotely is a recent phenomenon for many of us, and it can be challenging. Don't beat yourself up for feeling doubt, overwhelmed, or even lonely. Just know you're not alone, and there are always people to talk to. Everything DiSC has delved into this new way of working and coined it the: "The Virtual Culture Dilemma." They have created an informative e-book that you can download here. They explore the three critical components to addressing The Virtual Culture Dilemma and actionable strategies for an adaptive culture.
Starting a new job can be daunting, and starting a new job remotely is even more formidable. But, just like anything, with time, you will become a pro. So, if you're starting on a new journey, we wish you the best of luck and the same to any managers bringing on new team members in the current climate.
Here at MADI, we help you unlock your personal and career potential with the Everything DiSC profile by learning more about yourself and others. Whether improving working relationships, strengthening management skills, elevating leadership impact, or tackling conflict with a new mindset, Everything DiSC delivers insights and strategies to meet the unique needs of your career learning journey. Click here if you would like to learn more about our services.