Starting a new job remotely can be daunting to say the least. I speak from experience as I joined Social just two days before the national lockdown was announced back in March. I’ve been working from home ever since, as have the rest of the business. But I’m not the only one who has had this experience, we’ve had a whole cohort of colleagues join Social remotely this year.

So what sort of things can help if you’re starting a new job remotely?

What I’ve found most important is reaching out to your colleagues as soon as you can. Don’t be afraid to book in that Microsoft Teams or Zoom call, and remember, camera on! I also think it’s worth remembering that you shouldn’t be afraid to ask questions. Although you’re not in an office where you can tap a colleague on the shoulder, they’re still on hand to help you out remotely. And remember, no question is silly!

Here are some more top tips from colleagues that have joined Social remotely:

Jon Bassett, Videographer

  1. Don’t stress yourself out. Starting a job from home is really hard. It makes a lot of the usual new job anxieties even worse, so make sure you acknowledge the successes.
  2. Work on your barista skills. One of my fav things about working in an office is the mid-morning coffee run. Working from home means that’s a lot harder, so getting good at making coffee at home gives me that mid-morning treat, and it breaks up my day nicely.
  3. Don’t work from your sofa. Try to create a dedicated working space for the 9 to 5. Separating work from home isn’t easy so having a space that’s purely for work does wonders for your mental health, especially in the initial few weeks.

Claire Hastie, Marketing and Data Executive

  1. Where COVID rules permit, make the most out of colleagues that live local to you! I’ve been lucky as a member of my new team lives close by, so we’ve taken advantage of the ability to meet outdoors and have been going on socially distanced walks at lunch time. It’s really helped me settle in.
  2. Remember we’re all human! In more ‘normal’ times I ordinarily would have been mortified when my 2-year-old (having been sent home from nursery an hour early with a sniffle) appeared pant-less in a video call in my first week, with a colleague I’d never met before. Whilst it’s still always best to keep these little interruptions to a minimum I’ve learnt that they can serve as good icebreakers.

Racheal Johnson, Head of Strategy (Leeds)

  1. Turn your camera on during video calls and encourage others to do the same – when you haven’t met people in person, it’s good to see faces on video calls so that you can start to establish a rapport. As tempting as it sometimes is to turn the camera off if you’re having a bad hair day, you’ll establish relationships with your new colleagues much quicker if you can see one another!
  2. Make the most of the intranet – post an introduction to yourself on your company intranet page so that people know who you are, what you’re going to be working on, and a little bit about your life outside of work.
  3. Get involved in social activities – lots of organisations have pulled together virtual social forums such as quizzes or Teams lunches for employees to get to know one another and combat loneliness. The House competitions organised by colleagues at Social have been a brilliant way to meet new team members and get involved. If your organisation doesn’t have forums like this already set up, be brave and start one yourself.

Tori Madine, Senior Account Manager

  1. Pick up the phone every now and then to a colleague rather than emailing or scheduling a Teams call – some off the cuff chat is usually welcome and somehow feels less formal.
  2. Be active on your  work’s social media platforms, take an interest in, and be part of, wider company conversations. This will give you visibility, and show that you’re engaged with your employer beyond your immediate team.

Yolandé Haynes, Social Media Executive 

  1. Have casual meetings – getting to know your new colleagues can be difficult when you’ve never met them in person! Our Creative team has a daily meeting to just chat about life. Having that time away from work-chat has played a crucial part in making me feel welcome into Team Social. It also means I’ve got to know everyone’s cute pets and found out who rates which coffee shops!
  2. Get involved – our internal Great British Home Bake Off competition really encouraged us to chat to people across the business as well as showing off our creative (or not so) skills! Getting involved with internal events is a great way to feel part of the team on a more fun and personal level.

Simon Franks, Operations Manager

  1. As Group Operations Manager I also see onboarding from the other side, so I’ve introduced measures to ensure all new staff members feel as supported as possible. For example, I’ve created a ‘Welcome to Social’ deck which includes head and shoulder shots of all staff along with team info and their contact details. I also have regular check-ins with new starters to find out how they’re settling in and to ensure they have everything they need.
  2. I also stress to every new starter that they should feel they can come to me or anyone in the team whenever they need anything at all. When everyone is working from home, new starters can sometimes worry that they’ll be disturbing their colleagues with a call about what they think is probably a trivial question. I don’t want new starters to have that fear – if they don’t ask they won’t learn as quickly and won’t feel at home as soon as they could, so I make sure they know that we all welcome their questions and want to help!

So whatever you do, don’t worry about starting your new job remotely, there’s a lot of other people out there who are experiencing this too!