NEWS + ADVICE
How to Succeed in Your New Job Remotely
While the events of 2020 have increased the number of people who work from home, not everyone has the added challenge of starting a new job in a remote workplace right off the bat. Starting a new job can be an exciting time, but it also comes with a learning curve. Beyond learning how to excel at your job, you need to also build relationships and understand how your team communicates. In a remote workplace, you don’t have the luxury of casually getting to know your coworkers by the water cooler. Instead, it’s up to you to intentionally build relationships and get up to speed on all aspects of your role. Consider these tips to build a solid foundation from day one as you transition into a new remote position.
To start a new job on the right foot, it’s crucial that you understand what’s expected of you. You likely had conversations during the interview process about your overall duties and what things would look like day-to-day. But now that you’ve been hired, you need to further define and confirm expectations. Ask for a videoconference with your manager to ask questions, set goals, and make sure you’re on the same page. Talking over video will help you connect more quickly, as it’s more personal than a phone call or email, and you can also pick up on body language.
Have the job description in front of you and ask any questions you may have about protocol regarding job duties. Ask for an update on department projects and how you will fit in. What does success look like? Do you know what is expected of you in your first few months? Developing a list of quantifiable goals for the first 60 days will help ensure that you meet expectations and stay on track.
It’s also important to discuss reporting procedures with your boss. Ask questions to find out more about their work style and communication preferences. Is there a time of day to avoid interrupting them? What’s the best way to reach them with something urgent? Do they want to hear progress reports from you daily or weekly? Some expectations may have been covered in the interview process, but take initiative to get further clarification where needed.
Getting to know your manager and fellow coworkers can be challenging in a remote work environment. Nobody is going to walk you around the office and offer those quick in-person introductions to everyone in the room. So how do you get to know your team when you’re not face-to-face or even in the same time zone? Simply put, it takes effort.
With any luck, some of this effort will come from your manager, but building and sustaining relationships across the board is on you. Keep in mind, when you have that conversation about expectations with your boss, you’re also beginning to build on your employee-boss relationship. While you want to be professional, also remember to be yourself and share your enthusiasm.
Beyond your relationship with your boss, it’s also important to get to know your colleagues. Consider sending messages through LinkedIn or Twitter (wherever professionals in your community hang out online) before your official start day, to say hello and express how you’re excited to work with them soon. Once you’re on the job you might also send a quick email to introduce yourself further to the people you’ll be interacting with.
You’re going to be busy the first few weeks learning how to succeed in your new role, but don’t minimize the importance of building relationships with your coworkers. Ask questions, say yes to Zoom invitations, and show them that you want to be a team player. Building relationships within the organization will help you accomplish your goals and make you more effective in the long run. An initial demonstration of a solid work ethic will go far in making a lasting impression.
Communicate and Listen
Staying in contact with your team and communicating effectively is vital to working remotely. Thankfully we live in an age of technology that makes it possible to call, email, instant message, and video chat regardless of our locations. But different companies, or even different departments within them, have preferred methods for communication. Your goal is to learn how your team communicates, so you can join the conversation accordingly.
Are people using Slack, Zoom, email, and text messages? Which methods do they use to share information, ask simple questions, or host meetings? Observe which communication channels are used in different scenarios—and when in doubt, ask. Also pay attention to the tone that’s used. Is it formal or casual? Picking up on these small things can help you adjust to the culture and settle in with your coworkers.
When interacting with your new team, remember that procedures and policies aren’t going to be exactly the same as they were at your old company. Listen attentively—don’t immediately jump in with criticisms about what can be improved or what they’ve been doing wrong. The time will come when you have the opportunity to make a contribution. There is often value in listening more and talking less initially.
Quick Tips to Excel at Your New Job
A good job can be hard to find. Once you land the one that’s right for you make those first sixty days the best they can be. Keep these tips in mind for success as you tackle your new remote position:
- Set up your tech and workspace. Before day one of your new job, prepare your workspace and set up any technology you’ll need so you can hit the ground running.
- Limit distractions. If other people are home with you, have a discussion to set boundaries. Be aware of the difference between a quick time-out to handle a distraction versus a way to procrastinate on work that needs to be done.
- Pay extra attention to accountability. Keep an eye on the clock when you start checking social media or reading non-work related media. Working remotely brings flexibility, but you’re responsible for your workload nonetheless and you want to ensure you deliver on your obligations.
- Manage your time. If you’re struggling with productivity, try using a time management app to help you schedule your work and break times.
- Take breaks. When it’s time for breaks, try to leave your designated workspace. Get up, stretch, and leave the room you’ve been in to reset your tank and avoid burnout.
- Be thankful. In the confusion and nerves of your new job remember to say thanks to people who help you.
- Check and double-check your work. Impressions will form quickly when you begin a new job. Take an extra moment to make sure you’re delivering your best work.
Starting a new job can take a lot of adjustment, especially if you haven’t worked remotely before. Slow down and give yourself a break sometimes. No one expects you to know everything from the start. As long as you set expectations, build foundations for relationships, and communicate effectively, you’ll eventually find your bearings and settle into your new role.This entry was posted on Monday, August 17, 2020 9:00 am