Starting a job is exciting; you’re ready to tackle new challenges, bond with your colleagues, and take a step forward in your career. However, with the global impact of COVID-19 and more companies transitioning to remote work, the idea of starting a job can seem daunting. While a remote onboarding process may sound unconventional, there are steps you can take to get ready for it.
Don’t wait for your start date to begin getting ready. Preparation should start immediately! Decide where your dedicated work space will be and set it up to be a comfortable and productive area for you. Make sure your WiFi connection is strong and that you’re near an outlet. Living with family or roommates? Be sure to establish ground rules with the people in your home. Getting a jump start on the little things will make a difference when you get started and will let you focus on your new role. Check out our expert tips to help you get into the right mindset and ease the transition into remote work.
Next, if your new company sends over any onboarding material (whether it’s an employee handbook or remote work best practices), be sure to read it! If you have any questions or concerns, reach out to the hiring manager or recruiter as soon as possible so there are no roadblocks on day one. If they send you any IT-related material, make sure all applications and extensions are downloaded and ready to go. Lastly, ask if there’s an IT representative in case there are any hardware or software issues in your first week.
The best preparation will ultimately alleviate a lot of the stress that comes with starting a new job — especially a remote one.
With remote work, you don’t have the luxury to turn to your manager with questions as you acclimate to your new role. This can make it difficult to know if you’re on the right track. On your first day, clarify what you’re accountable for — to your manager, your team, and the company overall. Use the time spent with your manager to understand how the business and your team measure success, and plan how you will make an impact. Confirm your standard work hours, communication preferences, daily priorities, and other metrics/KPIs that are being measured.
Take initiative, and see what you can do to get ramped up as quickly as possible. Are there specific training materials that you should reference? Should you shadow certain colleagues? Don’t leave day one without a clear grasp of what’s expected from you.
While it’s easy to stay hyper focused on your specific role when you first start, remember to think of the big picture too. Recognize how your new responsibilities roll up into the success of the business overall. How? One idea is to set up meetings with different departments to learn other areas of the company. These are also great opportunities to meet with coworkers that you might not work with on a daily basis.
Ask questions to show that you’re engaged and thinking ahead. Which coworkers prefer which communication methods, or are there company-wide guidelines to follow? For example, would certain teams prefer a video call while others respond quicker to an email? Should instant messages only be used for urgent questions? In time, you will observe and adapt to the norms, but it’s a good idea to get familiarized early.
As you continue to work, more questions will pop up. Instead of pinging your coworkers or boss every time you encounter a hiccup, bundle your questions so you can ask them all at once.
Working remotely doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice company culture. Socializing with your teammates is still a must — especially when you’re new!
Start by introducing yourself to the necessary individuals (think: teammates, Human Resources, IT, etc.) Set up a quick video call to get to know these people better. It doesn’t need to be considered a “meeting.” Make it a quick coffee chat or a lunch hour – try to mimic the social interactions you would normally have in an office space! Use this opportunity to ask questions such as general icebreakers, perks and benefits they enjoy, or tips on how to succeed at the company. Forming these relationships early on will make it easier to work with them down the road and give you great insight into your new company.
When a colleague helps you during your first week, be sure to thank them. A little bit of gratitude can go a long way. Lastly, ask your manager what meetings you can join in on and observe. Simply showing your face in meetings can help establish your presence at the company and make future introductions more seamless.
We recognize that starting a job remotely can be challenging. As you adjust to your new role, be sure to cut yourself some slack. It will take time to figure out a remote setup that works for you, but these tips will help you hit the ground running and ensure an all-star first day!