Careers advice

Tips for starting a new job when working remotely

This is no usual onboarding.

While Alert Level 1 means all NZ businesses can head back to the office without worrying about enforcing measures like social distancing, some Kiwis may have found they like remote working.

If you've been successful in applying for a work from home job, congrats! Goodbye, morning commute.

However, it's important you realise that starting a job when remote working will be very different to rocking up to the office for your first day. With that in mind, here are our tips on how to hit the ground running when working from home.

Top tips for starting a new job during New Zealand’s coronavirus outbreak

1. Test your internet connection before Day One

Prepare yourself for a lot of video meetings and conferences as you get to know the colleagues who’d normally be sitting around you.

A poor internet connection is the equivalent of turning up late to your first day – embarrassing for you and frustrating for everyone else. As such, it’s essential you test your connection and ensure you can maintain good quality video calls. If not, it might be time to move closer to your router.

It’s also crucial, if you have kids in the house, that they know you’re starting a new role and need to impress. This will hopefully mean they understand your need for peace and quiet, and that you're no longer available for spontaneous games of hide and seek.

2. Dress appropriately

The simple answer is dress as if you were going into the office.

From your interviews you should have a good idea of the normal company dress code, so whether that’s a suit or jeans and a t-shirt, this is what you should wear for that first video meet.

It may well be that companies with more formal dress codes are relaxing them while working at home, but it’s always better to be too smart than too casual on Day One.

Dress smart on your first day in the new job.

3. Be clear on what’s expected of you

We all want to impress when starting a new job, but to ensure you’re delivering on expectations, you first need to know what those expectations are.

Your manager should make these clear to you during the course of your first few days at the company, so take notes and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Ideally, you’ll have regular catch-ups at the start of your tenure to ensure you’re staying on track.

Once you’ve got your workload established, it’s on you to discover how best to stay motivated when working from home. Being a good time manager and planner is essential here, so if that’s not you, look into tools or systems you could put in place to help.

4. Make time to build relationships

This is definitely tougher when working remotely, but it’s still important that you start to build good working (and social) relationships with your teammates.

Hopefully, your manager will help facilitate this through introductory meetings, but after that it’s on you to follow up and keep these relationships going. While this can feel weird, remember your teammates will want to get to know you too – and everyone is keen for additional human interaction at the moment! So, take up any offer of a video call, and don’t be afraid to start conversations on instant messaging platforms like Slack or Google Hangouts as a way of beginning to form bonds.

5. Don’t miss meetings

It can be very easy, especially when you’re in the whirlwind learning phase of a new job, to ignore Google Calendar reminders as they pop up on your screen. Don’t.

Missing meetings look sloppy, so start each day by checking your schedule to get your head around what’s coming up. If necessary, set additional reminders on your phone to avoid having to come up with half-baked excuses later on.

6. Look after yourself

While wanting to work hard and prove your worth is great, you need to watch yourself for signs of burnout. This is particularly true now that work and home life have become so closely intertwined. These days, it’s all too easy to work late in the evenings, and not give yourself time to relax.

Among the steps you can take to keep yourself fresh when working from home are:

  • Continuing to take your normal breaks – yep, you’re still entitled to them.
  • Going outside to exercise – as long as you stick to the government’s guidelines on this.
  • Getting up and moving about – in an office, you’d be getting up to go to the kitchen, meetings or to talk to colleagues. To make sure you don’t actually become moulded to your seat, we recommend getting up and shaking off the cobwebs about once every hour.