Starting your new job remotely, rather than in the office, comes with a few challenges. It means not being able to meet your new colleagues and manager in person, at least not right away. You need to adapt to new technology or a contemporary approach to working without your co-worker’s help. You will have to take on more responsibility to get your bearings and settle in.
So, if you have accepted your first remote job, congratulations! Here are some simple work-from-home tips to help you begin your new role successfully.
You thought you were sitting a lot at your office job, but chances are that you’ll sit even more when you’re working remotely. You will no longer get up to socialize, take phone calls, or go to meetings. There are ways to cure this issue, like setting a timer on your phone to remind yourself to stand up and stretch every hour; investing in a Fitbit, which will automatically buzz when you’ve been sitting for too long; or taking regular walks. But whatever you do, don’t work from your bed or couch. You’re just asking for some serious neck and back issues.
It’s incredibly important to build a relationship with your manager and co-workers from day one when working remotely. For some, working from home can increase productivity, since you don’t have the normal in-office distractions, but you might feel isolated and most of your contact will be solely focused on work rather than also including casual interactions that would happen in an office. Consider sending out a quick ‘hello’ email as an introduction to everyone on the team, and let your co-workers know you’d be happy to chat to get to know them better. You could even suggest a Zoom happy hour or another informal video get-together after work hours to meet each other, it’s much easier to build a relationship when both people can see each other and put a face to the name.
Once you’ve set up your workstation, it’s time to master your company’s technology and tools. This is very important when you’re working from home since you can no longer have an immediate solution from your co-workers. Take your time navigating the company’s documents and onboarding materials. You can even search for additional tutorials online. Dedicating more time to this during your first week will help you save time and avoid communication glitches down the road.
Working remotely tends to mean more flexibility, which can be dangerous no matter your work ethic. That’s why it’s important to set a strict structure for your day, especially when you’re first starting. Wake up, get dressed, make breakfast, brew a pot of coffee, and settle into your workspace. At lunch, schedule time to get away from your desk and eat a hearty meal. Maybe even go on a quick run if you have the time. The second part of your daily routine should center on your work habits. Make lists, set your intentions for each day, and stick to deadlines.
The best way to ensure your first few weeks of remote work will go smoothly is to ensure that you understand how people will be communicating. It’s important to know how important information will be sent out, what the expectations are for conference calls, and if email, text, or phone calls are the norm for simple communication. You can ask them upfront: “Would you prefer me to message feedback directly to you or post them in the document?” “If I have questions, do you prefer for me to message you, or do you want to set up a quick call to check in?” You can also take notes along the way as you begin to work together and learn about their work habits.