How to start a new role remotely

Written by: Imogen Hartley
Published on: 23 Nov 2020

Remote Work

How to start a new role remotely

We all get first day jitters. What should I wear? How early should I be? Will people in the office stare at me? Will my team like me? Depending on the type of person you are, these can either be calmed or intensified by the prospect of this first day not being in an office. The new worries are slightly different. How will I connect with my team? What if something goes wrong with the new technology? What if I have a problem and no one’s available?

At the start of the pandemic and the first national lockdown, many companies put their hiring on hold, waiting it out until a return to ‘normal’. Many of us who were thinking of moving roles also hit pause on these plans – better to ride out the storm and see what appears in the clearing.

However, as the situation continued with no definitive end, it was clear that we were now in a phase of ‘new normal’, and the jobs market bounced back with renewed buoyancy – if a little changed, with online interview processes and virtual on-boarding now the norm.

For the majority of business support professionals, this remote on-boarding is an utterly new situation. We’ve devised a list of 6 handy hints to help you navigate those first few weeks.

Be ready for a different type of onboarding

It goes without saying that, for most people, starting a new role during this time will be vastly different to the start of pretty much any role you’ve had before. What’s more, as the government guidelines are changing on an increasingly frequent basis, each company will have their own ways of doing things – some may have everything online/over video conferencing devices, others may have distanced meetings with new starters in the office. To best prepare yourself, you could drop an email to either your line manager or a contact in HR asking what to expect.

Make sure you’re equipped with the right tech

Though you may have been working from home for a while now, each workplace has a unique way of making the WFH experience a smooth and easy one. Are there certain pieces of tech available to you from your new company? Is everything correctly connected to the internet? Do you have the latest versions of different platforms downloaded? It’s also important to check if you need to be connected to a certain portal in order to access materials that may be necessary for you to do your role. Make sure as soon as possible that you have these things ironed out. Plus, it never hurts to get in with IT!

Connect with your colleagues

You’ve probably had a number of calls with your line manager throughout the interview process and since, but how much do you know about your new team? Most likely about as much as they know about you. While it’s looking like team drinks/meals/bonding days are out of the question for the foreseeable future, we need to make do with online versions. A great way to start this is by sending an email round to the team on your first day, introducing yourself and explaining what you’ll be doing at the company. You could include some more personal information as well, such as any hobbies outside of work, so that you come across as more than just a name on a screen. Ask each team member to send you a similar email back – that’ll enable you not only to get to know them a bit, but by finding out what their role is, you know exactly who to go to should you encounter any issues.

If one hasn’t been organised already, ask your manager if an online team social can be held – this could be in the form of a Zoom quiz or similar. It’s a relaxed, informal way to get chatting and have a few laughs.

Understand how your team communicates

This is on both a team-wide and an individual level. As a team, which software is used most frequently? Is there an email chain, a Teams chat or a group WhatsApp chat that you need to be involved with? There may also be varying degrees of formality with each of these, which will be important to note early on.

Individual members of your team may have a preference – it could be best to catch Lucy via a quick Teams note, whereas you may need to call Sam to get his attention, and Tom might only respond to emails. Ensuring you know these little details will contribute towards the ease of your new role.

Ask lots of questions

It’s a brand new role. As much preparation as you may have done, you’re not going to know absolutely everything from the get go. It’s important that you ask as many questions as you feel you need to – remember there’s no such thing as a silly question.

This can also be a great way to maintain contact with your team. Find out who the best ports of call are for certain issues, then you know where to go in order to sort a problem as efficiently as possible. Perhaps try calling rather than emailing, so that you’re encouraging a more personal interaction, as well as making any other questions that may crop up easy to air.

Write everything down

When asking all of your questions, sometimes it’s not enough to make a mental note. Keeping a notebook of helpful hints could be one option, or a document on your computer that’s filled with all the things you need to know. One major benefit of working from home is being able to keep your work area exactly as you like it. If you like having sticky-notes everywhere, you can do so without fear of judgement! If you have an important call or meeting, you can have the key bits of information written down in front of you, off camera, so that you know exactly what you’re doing, even if it’s as simple as just people’s names.

Starting a new role is one of the most exciting parts of working life. We hope these 6 handy hints will help you navigate starting a new role remotely in these unique times.

Still looking for that perfect role? Take a browse of current vacancies available on SecsintheCity here.