Author bio: Andrew Arkley is the founder of PurpleCV, one of the UK’s leading CV writing companies, and has over 15 years’ experience in HR and recruitment at a senior level.
Starting your new job from home instead of in the office can feel pretty intimidating. But worry not! There are tonnes of ways you can still make a great impression from the comfort of your own home (and slippers).
You may not get to meet your new colleagues in the flesh initially, and the new technology may be tricky to get your head around alone, but this shouldn’t deter you from starting a new WFH role.
Despite this, it can still be tough to gauge the company culture if you’re starting your role from home. If you aren’t given the chance to go into the office and meet your colleagues in the flesh, it’s difficult to get a feel for the team dynamics.
Here are some pointers that may help you to start your new work-from-home job successfully and make sure you impress your boss, and the team – even though you aren’t able to meet them physically.
Start Networking from the Day You Start
A lot of companies employ a variety of communication tools to connect their remote staff. Whether it’s Campfire, Google Hangouts, Zoom or Slack, it’s important to know how to use them – quickly – and use them frequently.
You can start by introducing yourself.
Take part in general communication with your colleagues, share relevant content, thank them and exchange praise where necessary.
Developing an efficient working relationship is crucial and is more important to being successful in your remote role.
Evaluate Your Onboarding Documents
Most companies will have onboarding material to help you in your remote role. For example, your employer will provide you with a handbook, company rules as well as other material they deem appropriate prior to your start date.
The week or weekend before you start your new job, take a look at the resources and knowledge material your boss has sent you. This will help alleviate any worry you may have on your first day, particularly as you won’t have any direct, in-the-flesh conversation with your team leader.
Download any apps or register for any sites in good time, so you’re fully prepared on your first day. It’s also worth reaching out to your manager if you’re experiencing any problems.
However, query anything you’re unsure of when it comes to the employer’s onboarding material. If something appears out-of-date or doesn’t correspond with the points you’ve been told earlier, politely ask for clarification.
Your manager is sure to welcome any questions you may have, as they may not realise the material is confusing. This is because updating training materials is sometimes neglected in busy small businesses.
Many small, start-up companies don’t have an official onboarding process. So, if you don’t receive any form of formal onboarding, ask!
Because you’re unable to stop by a co-worker’s desk, it’s best to organise your list in one place to make the most out of your initial check-in calls.
Granted, you’re not office-based. But there’s still more than enough to see – even though you may be working in your bedroom. It’s vital to dedicate some time to decipher handshakes and postures.
Rather than noticing nonverbal skills, you’ll need to watch out for a variety of technical signals to thrive in the work-from-home world.
This means engaging in video calls as well as the likes of Trello, and Asana where emojis are the name of the game. Observe how long it takes your colleagues to answer a message and the communication tools they like to use for specific problems. For example, do they use messaging apps instead of email?
Remember, your employer selected you over someone else for the role. So don’t doubt yourself.
Reach Out to the Right Person
If you’re stuck, ask. But make sure you speak to the best person. Even if your question seems silly, other new starters have probably felt the same way in the past, so ask anyway. Your inquisitiveness demonstrates your enthusiasm for getting things right. That said, it’s not as simple to ask the co-worker next to you about something you’re unsure of. In which case, it’s vital to speak to the right colleague.
If you speak to the wrong colleague, you may get inaccurate or deficient information. If you don’t know who to ask, speak to your direct line manager who will be able to point you in the right direction.
Home-based teams tend to work quickly, so gather your questions. You can get everything covered in one conversation. And your co-workers will appreciate not having to spend lots of time answering all your emails.
And equally, there’s nothing stopping you from asking your line manager or team members out for a socially-distanced meetup now that government guidelines have started to ease. Reaching out in this way would be great for both parties, and help to reaffirm that you’re not just talking to a screen!
From understanding the onboarding material to engaging in the team’s communication tools, these pointers will help you succeed in your new remote job and give you that “edge”. Expect a smooth and happy home-based start to your career!