Joining a new job remotely

It has been a good year since I shifted my job right in the middle of a pandemic and started working remotely.

At any given point in my life, I’d always prefer to work from a physical place that I call the office, hang out with work buddies, and learn more organically by just being present in the same space as my peers.

Thanks to the pandemic, While there is no adrenaline rush for many things like navigating through a new route, receiving the new badge, and sitting through the grueling new onboarding process, it is still somewhat fun receiving goodies and a new work laptop. While for many, the last year has been nothing but challenging, joining jobs remotely has now become part and parcel of life. So it is of utmost importance to get a few things right at the start. Here is a list of things I tried and things I wish someone told me earlier.

Before you join,

We don’t know the exit process in detail as we would know other HR policies like the leave or allowance. You may think- “unless we decide to move, is it vital to know? But that’s where it gets trickier. By the time you decide to quit, you wouldn’t have many people around you to advise on what should be done and how to do it. So it is good to know, observe and have this sorted at any given point in time.

A lot of people quit this critical step. I did it too, and I only wish I knew better. Taking a break while jumping between two jobs help you mentally. Take time to introspect on the excellent work and impact you had created on your previous job, give it the closure it deserves. Disconnect and be before you join the new position. I jumped three jobs without taking a break, and I was often feeling stuck mentally unable to appreciate the new work or get over the previous one. So do not ignore to take a break!

At the job:

*Drum rolls* You have finally joined the new workplace!! Well, at least the new email address and some swags should be a little motivating even if you are sitting in the same room and same desk, starting a new job.

Know who you will be working along, your peer groups, your organization, mission & vision, and establish a good working relationship with your manager. Talk a bit about your strength and weakness, areas you can contribute. While the new job will be all challenging with lots of new learning, establish and remember what you are good at. This will act as a fundamental building block for you to build on further.

While most parts of setting up virtual coffee was not a fun task I enjoyed, I was looking forward to knowing what each of my peers does, their working style, what has worked well for them in the role so that I can perform better at the intersection. While a lot of us might be super hesitant to begin this, go for it. It’s been one full remote year at work for me, and I still do not know when I’d get to see my peers in person. So make the most of what you have.

This would have been relatively easier if things were usual. But again I cannot stress how important this person’s role will be at your new work. You can identify your work buddy from your initial coffee connects ( Pro tip: have as many coffee connections as possible to find the one!) Ideally, this person should be your go-to person for everything non-work-related, big-ticket items that need answers. So you can also find your work buddy in your extended team if that works out for you. Well, of course, if you like some work gossip, make sure you find the work buddy and find them soon!

Here comes the easy-looking yet most formidable task at hand! There are several ways how things could potentially go wrong when you communicate insufficiently in chat messages and standalone texts. Sometimes there might also be chances of being misunderstood and being judged at the earliest. So the key is to communicate. Sometimes over-communicate until you find the rhythm with people and have fully adjusted to their communication style and them of yours. If you do not understand something- ask, clarify, learn and ask again until you get things clear! People will often discount a new joiner asking multiple questions rather than an old employee mixing basic and asking fundamental questions! Use your new joiner power to observe/ ask/ rectify maximum information and put that to good use.

All things said and done. If you don’t let others know what will work for you and how you would like to get things done, you will find yourself in a soup sooner or later. Let people know your working hours and if it is flexible or not — set expectations on when to reach out to you and when not to. I came across this fantastic manual curated by Vindhya C to set expectations with her new peers and employer.

Also, while you define work, it is essential to take things slow. There is a 100% possibility to get overwhelmed, have that imposter syndrome kick in at all the wrong timings, and a bunch of things that may pull your morale down. Do not let anything consume you! Take it easy and maximize learning!

And if you are joining a new job, Good luck and kick some asses!

Product Manager @Microsoft Teams. I like to write about everything in between technologies to human behavior to personal anecdotes. Co-founder @theprodcastt.