With the number of organizations currently offering remote opportunities, it’s not uncommon for candidates to find themselves accepting a role that is completely remote or hybrid. If you find yourself in this position, making the shift from in office to remote work can be very exciting but it can also be challenging at the same time. Here are some tips to make the transition as seamless as possible.
Prepare yourself ahead of time.
Before your first day make sure that you have a strong internet connection, set up any office equipment you were provided with and organize your desk so that you are ready to dive in on day one. Test out your camera, microphone and create an environment that is clean and professional when you have your camera on. Make sure to have a designated workspace, if possible, a spare room that can be turned into an office is great, but if that’s not an option making a small area of your common area will do just fine. On your first day be sure to log on early to give yourself extra time for technical difficulties.
Get ready to introduce yourself.
In an office space it is much more casual to meet colleagues on your first day or throughout your first week as you bump into someone grabbing a coffee or by the water cooler. Prepare yourself for more formal invites through phone calls or virtual meetings. To ease your nerves, it may be beneficial to have a few lines prepared. For instance, your work experience, education, hobbies and what excites you to be joining the team, etc. Virtual conversations can feel a bit less natural so it’s a good idea to have a few questions in mind to ask colleagues as well, such as how long they have been with the organization, what they focus on, some of their current projects and what they enjoy most about working there.
Build trust and relationships.
Building relationships can be challenging virtually, and it may take longer to do so when compared to an office setting where you see colleagues all day long or have the option to step out to grab lunch together. Set aside time to check in with colleagues when possible. When meeting with colleagues make sure to take notes. Not only does this help later in case you forget, but it also shows others that you are paying attention to what they are saying. At times it may feel a bit isolated working from home, unlike in an office setting you have to make an intentional effort to socialize with colleagues. If possible, try to schedule daily or weekly virtual calls to check in with everyone.
Create your own structure.
Working from home often brings more flexibility, so take the time to schedule your work the way that works best with you. Pay attention to the times you are most productive and schedule longer more difficult tasks during those hours. Try to keep standard start and end times to your work schedule and with so much flexibility in your schedule, don’t forget to schedule time to step away for a break as well.
You may find yourself experiencing more distractions compared to working in the office. To help with this, start by clearing your office space of any clutter that is unnecessary for your work. You can change your phone notifications to silent to reduce the temptation to check social media, text messages, etc. To help you focus, it may be helpful to set a timer – even its for just 15 or 30 minutes. While the timers ticking take the time to completely focus on your task, and if possible close your emails to avoid being disrupted. You will likely be surprised by how much you can accomplish in a short time when you can completely focus on one task. During this focus time, it may be helpful to have a certain playlist to listen to. You can also try using music to help you focus, try music without words, so you’re not tempted by some impromptu Karaoke.
Take advantage of your extra time.
Many of those who have made the switch to remote working have gained upwards of 1-2 hours of their day as they say good-bye to the daily commute in rush hour traffic, prepping lunches, planning outfits, etc. Use this time to incorporate a daily activity into your routine. Maybe for you that’s taking your dog for a morning walk, listening to a podcast, picking up a book, or maybe that’s trying a new activity you never had the time to explore before. Find something you enjoy and do your best to stick with it.
Set boundaries and disconnect.
Although there are so many benefits from working from home, it can be challenging to set boundaries of working hours and if you are not intentional on this your days can quickly blend. At the end of your working hours, take the step to shut down your computer and step away from your office area. Shutting down your computer will help reduce the temptation to respond to emails.
Set personal goals.
It is also helpful to set personal daily goals and a daily checklist is great for tracking small goals throughout the day. Try starting your morning by writing down what you want to accomplish for the day, as you complete tasks you can then cross off items one by one. Such a satisfying feeling, and on the days where it feels like there just isn’t enough time in the day it’s very rewarding to view everything you have accomplished.
Ask questions and be patient with yourself.
You’re not expected to know everything right away, don’t hesitate to ask questions. In a virtual environment, to avoid feeling like you are interrupting colleagues too much, keep a notebook of questions you have, then schedule time with a coworker to go through some of your questions. Batching questions this way will be appreciated so that you aren’t pulling colleagues away from their work as often.
Starting a new job can be challenging, making the switch to remote working at the same time can make it even more challenging. It’s important to understand that learning something new will take time. Its normal for imposter syndrome to creep in, when that happens try to remember that in this competitive job market your manager hired you because they saw something in you. Like any change in life, adjusting can take time. Be patient. You got this!
Written By: Alex Smith
Note: This article is written as an opinion piece from the perspective of a Recruitment Specialist