Successfully Starting A New Job Remotely

DevOps Engineer

If your job has been affected by COVID-19 layoffs, you’ve likely been in the throes of interviewing heavily for a remote role. If you’ve been fortunate enough to land a remote position, you’re probably wondering, “What’s next? How do I onboard remotely, get up to speed in my role, and get to know my team from behind the computer screen?” First-day jitters are entirely normal, but starting your new job remotely might be a bit of struggle if you aren’t prepared to do so. 

Although companies are starting to reopen their organizations and invite their employees back to the office, some employees still have to work remotely due to COVID-19. For companies that already have a lot of remote and virtual based employees, this might not be a difficult transition, but for organizations that aren’t accustomed to having a remote workforce, the onboarding process and preparing employees for their new positions could be strenuous. Here are five tips to help you navigate starting a new job remotely.

Prepare yourself for a different type of onboarding

Given that we’re experiencing a pandemic, onboarding for your new role will probably be held over Zoom or another video communication platform. Consider reaching out ahead of time to find out what the process will look like for you. Send a quick note to your recruiter or HR contact and email your new manager to say you’re aware the company is doing remote work at the moment due to the pandemic and ask how they’re handling the logistics of onboarding. 

Be flexible and understanding

Have patience with your new employer. Understand that the onboarding process is complicated for both parties, and it’s not exactly ideal. Starting your job remotely at a time when your manager and colleagues are also getting used to working from home – and you’re all dealing with a lot of other stressors during a global pandemic – might make it a bit more challenging to hit the ground running. And it might take longer before you feel comfortable socially at your new organization.

Ask clarifying questions to understand the expectations of the role

Take the extra time to understand your manager’s and team’s expectations on everything from individual tasks to overall onboarding, especially if you’re starting a job that wasn’t intended to be remote. Since your manager and teammates won’t be in the same building to chat through questions and concerns, it’s essential to practice open communication to understand how you can add value to your role and organization. Within the first several weeks of your onboarding, be sure to go over goals that you’re looking to achieve within 30, 60 and 90 days with your boss, as they may have designed a plan for you already. To be sure you’re both on the same page regarding your progress and growth, set up weekly 1:1 syncs to discuss workflow and goals.

Understand how your new team communicates; don’t try to reinvent the wheel

It’s essential to discover how everyone prefers to communicate so you can know whether to prioritize your Slack messages, email or Zoom meetings. It’s critical that you become aligned with your managers and team because having a sense of their preferred method of communication will make it easier for everyone to get to know each other and foster positive and productive interactions without reinventing the wheel. 

Get to know your colleagues to establish stronger relationships

When you start a new job, it usually always involves meeting new team members. Given that you’re working remotely, that process might take longer and require more effort on your part, even if your manager or HR sent out an introduction email. Consider asking your manager for a list of key stakeholders and team members that you’d like to connect with. Then follow up with colleagues to set up virtual coffee chats to ask questions about their roles, the projects they’re working on, and what they think you should know about the organization, as well as to share a bit about the work you’ll be doing.