Anthem Consulting: Navigating a new role from home

Jess Carey Posted By Jess Carey
from Burlington Media

We are living through strange timed, where remote onboarding is currently the norm and employees are starting new roles having only met around 4 of their colleagues during the interview process. Starting a new role can be a nerve-wracking process at the best of times, but for some, the remote element adds a whole new set of challenges.

We’ve spoken to some of our candidates who have gone through this process recently and thought we could share some insights as to what it’s like from a candidate’s perspective, and what both sides can do to make the process run smoother.

As an employee:

Set up your desk space and new technology:  you may already have a home desk set up but before you start your new role, have a spring clean of the area!  Get rid of old notebooks and clutter so you can start afresh!  If you’ve been sent a new laptop and work phone from your employer unbox this ready for your first day well in advance to minimise technical problems.  Whilst you would normally have IT support on hand in the office, things may be slower when doing things remotely.  Ask your manager if there are any apps you need to download in advance for virtual team meetings or systems they use.

Ensure you have clear communication with your manager:  in a normal situation you may sit right next to your manager, so don’t let the distance put you off asking questions!  As you would in person, try to gain an understanding of their expectations of you for the first few weeks and ask for them to invite you to meetings and cc you in on emails to get up to speed.

Get to know you new colleagues:  This can be a daunting part of starting a new job even face to face and now you aren’t even sitting with the team, but you can ask your manager to make virtual introductions, perhaps even suggest virtual coffee meetings with team members and stakeholders.

Interruptions: try not to worry about what people will think if your pet joins a team meeting,  children are making a noise in the background, or your home-working partner or flatmate is on the phone.  It’s likely your boss is facing the same challenges and these things can help break the ice and create a few smiles in what can be stressful times!

Stay motivated:  easier said than done, and we’re all adjusting to working from home on a much more regular basis than ever before, but there are some simple things that can help keep you motivated:

  • First up, get showered and dressed every day.  Basic I know but it really does help focus the mind. 
  • Perhaps even get into the habit of going for a walk or do a quick yoga session to get you ready for the day. 
  • The workload may be slightly different to normal, so even if there aren’t quite so many projects to get stuck into, set yourself a loose schedule to try and stay focused. 
  • Allow for coffee/lunch breaks and don’t be afraid to step away from the screen if it all becomes too much. Mental health breaks are key!

Whatever your method, the trick is to try and form some kind of routine to stick to.  It will also help you relax and enjoy the weekend more as your routine can be different on these days just how it is in more normal circumstances.

As an employer:

Ensure onboarding communication is clear: as you would normally, make sure new employees have their equipment, onboarding documents etc. and are clear of the expectations of their first week such as start times. Check in with them ahead of starting to address any concerns they may have. Candidates are very worried that offers will be rescinded, so do your best to keep in touch and reassure them.

Stay social:  many teams are continuing with social activities via video conference so be sure to include any new joiners and perhaps think about organising new starter drinks as well. Mix it up with themes and different activities to cater to all personalities – there are lots of quizzes available! Help new starters build relationships with the team, by making introductions and perhaps even look at implementing buddy systems if your company doesn’t already have one in place.

Arrange regular check ins: whilst you would normally see a new employee face to face and be able to sense how they are feeling, sometimes it’s easy to lose track if they aren’t in front of you. Make sure you check in with new employees regularly as they may still be unsure as to who to go to for help.  Ensure they understand their work and are settling in.

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