Starting a new job remotely can be a bit different than starting in a traditional office setting. Starting a job in an office, a robust training schedule might be set up for you – multiple meetings with your new manager, scheduled time with coworkers, and a tour to meet people across the company. Working in an office setting in-person, you are able to observe how others are working, and how they manage their schedule and workload. This allows you as a new employee to get an understanding of expectations and company culture.
Starting a new job remotely, you might feel a bit on your own as you train and learn new information. Even if you are already comfortable working remotely, it might feel odd to start a job and never meet your manager or co-workers in-person. Without the ability to see how others are working, it can feel a bit daunting to navigate the new culture and unwritten rules of the organization.
The good news is that many remote companies have taken steps to mimic the traditional onboarding process to allow new employees to virtually have quality one-on-one time with their new manager, meet new co-workers and even meet employees from other departments. Whether this is a part of your company’s process or not, you can always enhance your own onboarding through effective communication and initiative.
Even though you are not physically at the office, you can build relationships with your boss and coworkers through video or phone calls. Schedule time with people across your department or organization to get to know them and gather important intel to be more efficient in your job. You can treat the conversation similar to an informational interview. Prepare some questions or talking points that you would like to cover so that you make the most of their time. You can ask questions such as:
- What advice would you have for me as a new hire?
- What do you wish you knew as a new hire that you know now?
- What is your favorite part of working at the company?
- What are some of your challenges in the role?
- How do you manage your schedule and time working remotely?
These relationships can prove invaluable as you continue your time onboarding, and ongoing in your role. Not only is it beneficial to have colleagues to ask questions of, but developing a friendly rapport with others will help you feel acclimated, and a part of the company community.
Be efficient with both your and your manager’s time
In a traditional office setting, you would most likely see your boss at the start of and throughout the workday which allows ample time to connect. Working remotely, it is often through scheduled meetings, emails, and online messaging that you communicate.
Make the most of your one-on-ones with your manager by preparing questions or even sending questions ahead of time. There will be times that it is important to communicate in between meetings, and navigating when/what/how to reach out can take some time to learn.
As you are training and reviewing material, write down questions to keep track of what you need further context or elaboration on. Identify which questions can wait for your one-on-one with your manager, and which you should reach out about in the meantime.
When in doubt, ask your boss how they prepare to communicate. Are they comfortable with multiple emails or messages throughout the day, or do they prefer one email with a long list of questions for them to tackle at once?
Ensure clear expectations
Working in an office setting, you have the luxury of seeing office interactions and observing company culture that sets expectations and company standards. Working remotely, it can be difficult to get a handle on expectations, which can leave you feeling unsure of what is acceptable. By discussing expectations with your manager directly, you can take the guesswork out and ensure that you are starting off on the right foot.
A few considerations:
- What are your manager’s expectations related to start and end times? Do they expect to see you working at 8 a.m. or 9 a.m.? Is it okay to close up at 4 p.m. if you started the day at 7 or 8 a.m. that day or must you always be logged on until 5 p.m.?
- Is there flexibility in making up hours? If you have a doctor’s appointment in the middle of the day, can you make up the hours at the start or end of the day, or do you need to submit time off? Are you able to make up hours in the evening if needed?
Depending on your job, there will probably be many other questions that come up as you learn the position. By asking questions and keeping communication open, it not only sets you up for success in meeting your manager’s expectations but it also shows initiative in your being proactive to set things off with clear communication.
Ask for constructive feedback
Working in a traditional office setting allows time to learn your manager’s personality and read non-verbal cues when appropriate. It also allows for more frequent communication. Your boss may simply just pop into your office throughout the day to check-in, or bring an issue to your attention. As you are learning a new job remotely, you may feel unsure of whether you are up to speed. Let your supervisor know that you are interested in and open to regular feedback so that you can be as successful as possible in the role. At regular intervals, ask for feedback on how you are progressing. This will open the door to anything that your manager needs to share with you or ask of you, and it will showcase your ability to continue to improve.
While starting a new job remotely might feel daunting, the initiative that you take to lay a strong foundation in your role will make a great first impression (not only to your manager but your peers). For more tips on working from home, check out our blog at: https://www.lifeinprogresscoaching.com/new-to-remote-working-five-tips-to-make-it-work/
For more ideas on how to successfully work remotely, consider working with a career coach. A coach can help you identify action steps to make the most of your time working from home. Check out our executive coaching services and sign up for a free consultation here.