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You have just completed a job-hunting marathon and got yourself through the interviews and selection process landing you in a new post- Congratulations!
What’s ahead of you now is warming up to a new company, new role and meeting a group of brand-new faces as you do the job you were hired for sitting at your new office base – at home.
The traditional “induction programmes” which aim to get you familiarised with the company’s culture, operations, work priorities and your new colleagues would normally take place in the office. This can’t happen now as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown restrictions.
Joining a new company from home may be new for most of us – but not for everyone.
We asked for some advice from employees from multinationals who have experience in managing or joining a team of remote workers where they only meet in person once a year.
The advice here is mainly for those in a leadership role but this can be a good resource for what to look out for as a newly hired team member as well.
5 Tips to Start a Collaborative Working Relationship with a New team- From Home.
Similar to your first week in the (real) office, the best course of action to settling in is to meet with your new team and colleagues and get yourself known.
You may have repeated your professional story several times to your interviewers but your peers and colleagues don’t know much about you yet and will be curious to interact.
Book a one-to-one video call with each team member and take this time to listen.
Book this early on rather than later- you can schedule it directly via your video software choice – Zoom, WhatsApp, Teams or GoToMeeting are all popular options at the moment.
We have heard from newly hired managers that video calls from their home are an extremely effective way to get to know new colleagues, possibly even better than face-to-face in-office meetings.
They said that the setting of the video calls, e.g. meeting people in their kitchens, bedrooms, cars or even outside on their garden porch has allowed for a more intimate and friendly interaction with fewer formalities than in the office.
Be ready with a simple introduction.
Let them know who you are and why you joined the company. Ask them to summarise what their work priorities have been and what they would like to work on in the future. Enabling them to succeed is also a manager’s job and identifying this early on sets you up to a collaborative relationship.
Close the call by setting the expectations of how often you might like to catch up going forward.
Warning- Avoid at all cost the urge to micro-manage. This is one of the pitfalls of remote working- some managers can become obsessed with technology that can remotely monitor performance- such as software offered in Microsoft Teams. Don’t be one of those!
You are establishing a rapport with competent people who are dealing with sudden changes in their working and home life routine, and a new boss – be understanding.
Make yourself digitally available to the team- Remember the open-door office policy?
We advise you to facilitate that by making your digital calendar visible to your team so they know when it’s a good time to reach out for you. You can organise your weekly schedule with “coffee break slots” where your team knows they are welcome to access you.
During the first few months of settling in, this new habit will go far in helping to establish a collaborative work environment.
Identify your key allies to help you transition into the company
You are at home with no connections in the office and you need to find a policy document or information on the history of a project in your tray. Make sure you know where to look for or who to ask.
Not all companies have a Frequently asked Q & A ready for newcomers. Documents may be stored and shared online now but looking into every shared folder takes time and can be frustrating. Avoid that by identifying a key person to go to for quick answers early on.
Safeguard your Work-life Balance
- Don’t compromise your work-life balance- Make sure you have a quiet and bright place to work. We may be working from home for quite a long time so relocate your temporary office, currently at your kitchen table, to a more semi-permanent location
- “Don’t work from your bed and stay a safe distance from your fridge and pantry”. We are not joking. This is a real warning from an experienced home worker we interviewed. The last thing you want is to also struggle with a sudden weight gain as a result of working from home.
- Make a daily to-do-list, keep your schedule tight but do stop for your break: E.g. when blocking your calendar to do a 3-hour research task or meeting make sure you include 5-10 minutes to stretch in between.
Think about it as your battle against misunderstanding.
Transitioning to a new job is not simple, it can feel overwhelming to learn your role, create new relationships, connect with your team, adapt to the culture, and impress your boss all at once.
Your early wins should be focused on establishing relationships and expectations. You will have the opportunity to show off your strategic and creative abilities and achievements once this part is done.
Our advice guarantees some significant wins- and if you establish them early on, they will help you to quickly find your feet in your new work from home reality.
If you end up loving the working from home perks and want it to become a permanent set-up click here for advice on how to raise this with your employer. For more Interesting reads on how to back your career visit our blog
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