Thousands of people in the pandemic have started new jobs without ever meeting their colleagues face to face or stepping inside the office. As companies increasingly reconsider their working practices, you could be next.
Remote working can offer some exciting new opportunities. But chances are your new company doesn’t have an on-boarding process that’s designed for the era of Zoom and Teams.
So, we’ve been taking a look at some of the advice from the experts on how you can make the best impression on your new colleagues, all from your home office. Here’s what they say.
Announce yourself as new
A new face in the office stands out and draws curiosity – people soon start to ask questions, introduce themselves and even offer help. On screen, you’ll have to make things a little bit more explicit, says psychology professor Art Markman. Take a moment in team meetings to announce yourself, post an introduction in forums like Slack or Teams, and send some brief emails to your new colleagues. “Many of your colleagues would like to welcome you, they just need more explicit reminders to do so than they might otherwise,” he says. And, he adds, don’t wait for offers of assistance – ask for what you need.
Make sure you know your tech
If the technology isn’t working, you’re not working. So, make sure you familiarise yourself with your new laptop and all the company’s key software. Christine Wright, senior recruiter at Hays, recommends getting to know the process for raising IT issues too. Pay particular attention to making sure the sound and video is working for meetings, she suggests, and practice looking at the camera rather than the screen so it looks like you’re making eye contact. “It’s important to ensure you’re representing yourself well and authentically via video conferencing,” she says.
Get an onboarding plan – or make one
A lot of problems with remote work come from lack of communication or mismatched expectations. You can settle a lot of nerves by asking for a written onboarding plan that sets out the things you need to do over the first couple of months. “If one doesn’t exist, try to make one yourself,” suggests Tim Su, the founder of remote working company Tandem. Show it to your manager and have them approve it or suggest alternatives, so everyone is clear.
From keeping your camera on to getting time with the boss, you have to be seen to be noticed. “While great work is critical, it’s not enough unless decision-makers know about it,” says psychologist and career coach Dawn Graham. She suggests being proactive about setting up Zoom chats with your new co-workers and check-ins with your line manager. If you’re not as busy as expected, she says, “don’t stress”. Look for problems you can solve or reach out to colleagues periodically to offer help.
Find the person who knows everyone
Networking is vital, but hard when you’re isolated at home. One hack to speed up making those connections is to find people who are “connectors”. Art Markman defines them as “someone who knows all the people you should know in order to make things happen”. Building a real relationship with these people can turbocharge your networking with everyone else. They might stand out easily, but if not ask colleagues or your manager who they consider the connectors to be.