Starting a new job can be an exciting time, as you prepare to walk into the office on your first day to meet your new team, set up your office, and hit the ground running. But starting a new job remotely sometimes can lack that same luster, especially when working from home is the “new normal” across the company.
As many companies are now adjusting to new or modified schedules that allow their employees to work from home, and as the future of offices shift, as a new employee, it can be intimidating to begin a job with a new company without the formalities of orientation and meeting your new colleagues in person. Adapting to a new job remotely poses its own set of challenges: How do you get acquainted with colleagues who are not on your immediate team? How will your new coworkers know about your hire? How will you establish rapport with your team?
Being patient and flexible seems to be the name of the game when adjusting to a new job from home. Make your adjustment to your new company a smooth one, even from your own home, with a few tips on starting a new job remotely.
1. Make your manager the middle man
There’s no bigger advocate to have when starting a new job with a new company than your manager, especially when meeting colleagues in person on your first day is no longer an option. Your manager will be your guide and biggest cheerleader, announcing your arrival as a new hire while everyone is working from home and pre-occupied with adjusting to a new type of work-life balance.
See if your manager would consider sending out an announcement of your hire, and open your calendar up for e-introductions from your new coworkers. An announcement is a great way for others in your company to get to know you and your role and how you might be working with them. Your manager can also include you in on various video conferences and meetings to introduce you to a variety of coworkers to get acquainted with. Ask about meetings that could help you not only introduce yourself and your role, but also help you become familiar with the moving parts of the business and current projects to get you up to speed.
Build a rapport with your manager by suggesting one-on-one meetings frequently during the start of your role to gain more understanding of your team, their preferred communication style, and short-term and long-term goals you should adhere to. When working from home, it is easy to be out of sight, out of mind when it comes to connecting with your manager, so proactively scheduling regular check-ins helps keep the communication flowing, making work more effective and your transition even smoother.
Your manager is in charge of making sure you get your foot in the door with all of the right people while working from home; make sure to use their influence to ensure a graceful start to your new job.
2. Use human resources as a resource after onboarding
When starting a new job, onboarding can be one of the most helpful ways to introduce yourself to your new company. Whether you are in the office or working from home, the onboarding process is a great tool to learn more about the structure of the company, your new role and responsibilities, and what to expect when you do eventually come back into the office.
Navigating a new company after onboarding without the proper connections or guidance in person can seem daunting. Your human resources team is the perfect team to help guide you through a new company, even past the initial onboarding, having access to everything you need to make your transition to a new company and role from home a smooth one. Keep in touch with your human resources team after onboarding to get key information that will help you past your first days with the company, including company directories, work-from-home polices and procedures, and employee resource groups to get involved with to acclimate yourself to your new company. Your human resources professional should be on top of the latest company news and any changes, especially during major shifts in the company with work-from-home schedules. They can be your introduction to the full company and help you explore your new job without having to leave home.
3. Discover your team’s communication style
One of the major setbacks of working from home is establishing and maintaining effective communication with colleagues, your manager, and other coworkers, especially as a new employee who is just learning the ropes. For some of your colleagues, this might be their first time working from home for an extended period of time, adjusting to new forms of communication online and by phone vs. the standard in-person boardroom meeting many workers have been accustomed to.
Discover your immediate team’s preferred communication style, whether it be by phone, email, instant messaging, or via video conference. Some colleagues may rather not be inundated with emails and respond better using other forms of communication, which will help you be more effective at reaching them when starting your new role.
How your team communicates, along with when your team best connects and is productive, is also crucial to starting off on the right foot from day one. Does your team have frequent check-ins, or should you put time on each calendar to have one-on-ones? Is your manager available during normal business hours or likes to catch up before or after the workday? These are all important preferences to note when working with your new team, especially when face-to-face time is limited or nonexistent and many are juggling family and work during the workday.
4. Connect with new team members offline
If you’re starting a new job remotely, it can be difficult connecting with your new team outside of work-related tasks and duties. Whether you’re working from home or going into the office occasionally, make time to get to know your colleagues, and give them the opportunity to get to know you.
Video conferencing is a great way to connect with your new team face-to-face if you haven’t already done so in person. Put some time on your team’s calendar to meet virtually either during or after work to get to know them informally. If video conferencing isn’t an option, a good old-fashioned phone call works just as well. Get to know them by connecting on a more personal level: How did they get started at the company and what has their experience been? What would they like to know about you? Who else should you try to meet within the company?
Giving your new team the opportunity to get to know you outside of your new role within the company helps bridge the gap between being the new employee no one has met yet to someone they know and can trust professionally. It also helps build relationships with other team members who can help advocate for you as a new hire. Look at connecting with your new team as networking in a different way, connecting with your colleagues on a different level to establish trust and build morale professionally.
Starting a new job working from home doesn’t have to be intimidating or daunting; make your presence known across your company so that you can hit the ground running and make the biggest impact.