The recent pandemic is proving to be less of a stumbling block, and more of a major pothole on the road, when it comes to working experience. In fact, with most institutions having to shift to working remotely during the first wave of the pandemic (safety first, folks!), it’s more likely now that your first job opportunity will incorporate WFH (working from home), or working remotely. No need to stress about it, this is actually easier than you think! But if you’re still not convinced, check these tips below on starting a career remotely!
1. Have A ‘Buddy’ – No, we don’t mean a friend (although that’s a good thing to have too). We’re talking about a ‘Knowledge Buddy’ aka someone who’s already familiar with how the office works. Most offices generally attach a ‘buddy’ or co-worker to a new staff, to guide them around their first week or so, but if they haven’t, don’t be afraid to take the initiative and ask for one.
2. Engage With Your Team- While working remotely means that you’re working from the comfort of your own home, that’s no excuse to slack off! Maintain the usual standards you would apply to meeting someone in an office setting, identify who you will be working with and how their roles intersect with yours (resources such as LinkedIn and the company website will help with this). You could even prepare some relevant questions ahead of initial meetings. This will show that you’re taking an interest in your role and tasks at your new workspace.
3. Get to Grips with Technology- Like it or not, with the onset of the pandemic and the absolute necessity of working remotely, it’s important that you’re familiar with the technology and software utilised in the workspace. If you’re having a laptop delivered to you as part of your job, don’t just admire it, test it out! Run through the software and hardware to familiarise yourself with programmes or tools you’ll need to use for work. This also gives you the chance to bring up any technical issues that you have before they become a major stumbling block.
4. Give Yourself Some Prompts- Working remotely means that you’re working from home, which also means that you need to jot down notes or reminders to make sure you stay on track- a list of the names of co-workers and supervisors, for example (better to avoid those accidental but oh-so-awkward goof-ups where you misname someone), or even a list of department responsibilities. If you’re just starting out and have moments where you’re confused or ‘blank out’, these prompts will help you stay on track and on target!
5. Set Your Goals- Speaking of targets, while you don’t need to have any huge aims right off the bat, within the first week or so of working at your new job, you should have a fairly clear idea of your key responsibilities. Once this happens, work with you manager to set some long, and short term goals you would like to achieve while working (maybe 1 month, 6 months and a year). Again, they do not have to be major goals. Instead, these goals will help keep you focused- giving you a strong sense of direction and motivation, boosting your productivity in the bargain.
6. Punctuality is Key- You’re definitely familiar with the proverb ‘Time and tide waits for no man.’ Keep that in mind when starting your new job. Just because you’re working remotely doesn’t mean you should be any less punctual. While it may not be the end of the world if you’re late by a minute or two, try not to make this a habit, as it will signal a lack of respect and consideration for other people’s time, or poor time-keeping to your co-workers and supervisor.
7. Don’t Overwork- Admittedly, it can be difficult to draw the line between work and home when working remotely, which can often times spillover into unhealthy working habits. To ensure a healthy work-life balance, set a precedent- e.g. avoid answering work-related calls or e-mails late at night or over the weekend. If at all absolutely necessary, limit yourself to checking your emails once in the evening, and, after a certain period, only responding, in the case of highly urgent or emergency situations.
Now, take a minute to digest these tips, and go forth to your new job with confidence! Good luck!