Starting a new job can be an exciting time in your life. You get to meet new people and face new challenges. One of the challenges that is becoming more common is starting a new full-time job remotely. Although many people have experienced remote work due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it might be your first time in a role where you do not report to an office at all.
Working at home can be fun, but also full of distractions. And starting a new job remotely can be daunting. To be successful, you will need to start getting yourself organized, establish boundaries and build relationships with your new colleagues. Remember, the first few months are crucial in setting you up for success in your new role.
Get Yourself Organized
From day one, you’ll need to set up a system that works for you. First, designate a space in your home where you will be working every day. Whether it’s a specific room or a corner desk in a living room, this is where you will sit down and concentrate on your job. Having a spot for your laptop and other office equipment will help you stay organized and establish a routine place to work.
After selecting a spot, also consider setting designated working hours. The first few weeks will most likely be filled with training or your company may require you to clock in and out at certain times. However, you need to hold yourself accountable for logging the correct amount of time each week and building a schedule that works for you. After the first month, you’ll most likely develop your own good and bad work habits and hours, and if you need to deviate from the company’s set hours, meet with your manager to discuss these schedule changes and emphasize how this time is most productive for you. Look into the makers vs managers schedule to see if your work fits into one of those buckets and plan it out accordingly.
A final organizational tip is to start planning out your day. Take note of which days are slow and when you feel energized to perform a difficult task. There will be different priorities that you need to complete based on your job’s needs and timelines. But after a month or two, you’ll be able to discern what takes precedence and what can be bumped. This will help you effectively manage your time and plan out your tasks for each day.
Set Your Boundaries
Although you may feel the need to log as many hours as possible at your new job, it’s important for your overall well-being to regularly turn off from work. As previously mentioned, you need to set designated working hours for yourself—but, if you find yourself working until the wee hours of the night or rolling out of bed in the morning and logging into work, then it’s time to set reminders for yourself. If you live with your family or roommates, ask them to tap you on the shoulder when you’re working too late. You can also create alerts on your phone or laptop to say that the day is over, and it’s time to log off. Yes, you want to impress your new company, but burning yourself out in the first months on the job will not help you in the long run.
Another reminder to set is to get up and move throughout the day. Regular movement of your body prevents a lot of health issues from sitting or standing at a desk all day. Plus, walking away for a few minutes can help reset yourself after a stressful meeting. Regular exercise during the day can improve concentration, sharpen your memory, and lower stress, as Harvard Business Review points out.
Since you are working from home, it can be tempting to tick things off of your personal to-do list during the workday. Tossing a load of laundry between meetings is fine or jotting notes to yourself during a five-minute break. However, avoid tasks that pull you away from your job. Multitasking rarely proves fully effective, as the Cleveland Clinic found in a study that said only 2.5% of people can do it effectively. So while it’s tempting to run the vacuum while sitting on mute for a conference call, don’t do it. Remember your designated working hours are meant for getting your job done, not your personal life tasks.
Build Bonds with Co-workers
Even though you are interacting with your colleagues digitally, it’s still important to build authentic connections with them. One way to establish a working relationship is proactive communication. Rather than waiting until a certain hour in the day or for a task is completely done, message your team with updates on where you are with a project or if a question pops up. As the newest member of the team, not only will you be full of questions, but you may also be able to point out observations that are going overlooked. That’s not an excuse to look for errors, but rather a chance to have a conversation with your coworkers about the project to make it a success.
Meetings are another way of building bonds with your teammates. Use them as a way to learn more about your colleagues and how they interact with one another. Each company has its own hierarchy or way in which they do things. Your first months on the job will allow you to learn that through meetings.
However, don’t let these sessions just be about business, when you have the chance, get to know more about each of your coworkers. Instead of a coffee date, set aside fifteen minutes to chat with them to learn more about them as a person. Take a lesson from Hootsuite, which hosted randomized coffee dates for their employees. The company not only found this an effective tool for broadening communication between departments but also saw a change in their company’s culture. For you, your digital coffee session is a chance to sponge up any tips coworkers have about working from home or their experience with the company.
Aside from learning from your coworkers, they can also help clarify expectations for your job. While your contract and job description will cover a lot of what the organization wants from you, after a few months on the job, you’ll be able to ascertain more about the unwritten expectations. Or, perhaps, your job will gain new responsibilities. This isn’t uncommon for businesses to do. For example, DoorDash changed their engineer’s job description to include one food delivery made each business quarter. Yes, random assignments like that can happen in a job, but talking with your colleagues will help you not only execute the new job tasks but also understand why a change was made.
Starting a new work-from-home job can be an exciting time for you. This position will allow you to meet new people and gain new knowledge and experiences. To set yourself up for success, remember to set boundaries, organize yourself, and communicate as much as possible with your coworkers. Following any of the tips mentioned above will assist you in making the most of this opportunity.
And remember, the first few months on the job is both exhilarating and daunting for a new person. But you are here to be successful, so learn from your failures and try new things whenever possible. It’s up to you to make the most of this new job.