The COVID-19 pandemic continues to transform the environment of work. Although employees across Australia are slowly returning to the office as the vaccine roll-out continues to increase in pace, it remains common for employees to be starting their new jobs from home.
The prospect of starting a new job from home can be incredibly daunting for anyone. Without being able to directly converse with colleagues in person, the experience can present numerous challenges for new employees.
However, there are several strategies that can be implemented by both employers and newly hired employees to help ensure the experience is an overall positive one for all involved.
What can you do as an employer?
Schedule regular check-ins with your employees
Reach out to your new employees regularly, and set up some quick phone or video calls. By having these conversations regularly, the short and informal interactions you would typically have with your team in the office can be mimicked. You can use these chats as an opportunity to make sure they are settling in well and feel comfortable with what is required of them.
Create informal team building opportunities
It is even more important to create a sense of belonging for new employees starting remotely. You should connect with your employees as much as possible, and not just to talk about work. By organising virtual social events, such as Zoom games and drinks, new employees can build strong relationships with the team in a less formal environment. If your new employees feel happy and valued by you, they will naturally put the extra effort in during work hours.
What can you do as a new employee?
Ask your colleagues for help
In the office, different body language can be noticed by people who may offer help if they think you require it. However, it is difficult for people to see if you are unsure or not keeping up with the work over phone/video meetings. It is important not to be discouraged by the thought that your colleagues might not want to help you or do not have the time; research has suggested that they will be much more willing than you may think. If there is something you need, just say so. Asking for help rather than waiting for help to be offered will pay off; both now and in the long term.
Take note of everything
It is often relatively easy to tackle problems as they arise in the office. You can simply get up from your desk and find a colleague to help you tackle it. However, working from home means that an email or message you send off to someone might get lost amongst the other communications they receive. If it is a small issue, you might even forget to follow up.
Taking note of what occurs throughout the day can help ensure that all tasks are completed when required, and any issues can also be effectively addressed. For the issues that remain unresolved, you can highlight them and ask for your colleagues’ perspective at the next team meeting.
It is never easy starting a new job, let alone amid a pandemic. By being proactive, you can smoothly settle in to your new role and demonstrate your value to the organisation quickly; whether you are at home or in the office.
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