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Seven top tips for starting your new job remotely

 

Working from home (WFH) in the UK has exploded over the last few years. This has been driven by developments in cloud computing technology and boosted by the aftermath of the COVID-19 lockdowns, which saw many professionals working remotely. For the duration of the first UK lockdown, 60% of people worked from home.

According to statistics from the ONS, in 2023, 44% of UK workers work remotely. This comprises of 16% full-time remote workers and 28% hybrid workers (who split their working week at home and in the office). According to the ONS, 1 in 4 workers work hybrid.

Professionals working within IT have the highest chance of working remotely, with over 80% working remotely in 2021. The UK’s technology sector has high numbers of remote-working jobs. Despite providing around 4.2% of all jobs, according to Adzuna data, the industry accounted for 30% of remote job vacancies in 2021. At that time, one in four IT vacancies were labelled remote.

The trend for offering WFH roles is biased towards technology firms and startups, which are tech-enabled and invest in their remote workforces. During the pandemic, for instance, Airbnb launched a Live and Work Anywhere programme.

Remote working offers huge benefits, including time and cost savings on commuting. Findings from The Job Description Library reveal that the average British worker saves five hours per week by cutting out their commute, totalling 240 hours each year.

Although more companies and HR teams have updated their onboarding processes to cover remote workers, a new employer’s onboarding process might still focus on in-person meetings and training. So, as you prepare to embark on your new remote role, it's essential to acknowledge the unique dynamics of starting a job from the comfort of your home.


Tips to make an impact when working remotely

1. Get to know the people and the tech

Get familiar with the virtual onboarding tools and platforms your new company uses. Whether it's Zoom, Workday, Trello or other collaboration platforms, being proficient in these tools will aid your success. If you work in tech, you will likely pick these up quickly!

Make an onboarding checklist that aligns with your role. Include tasks such as setting up your home office, testing technology, and setting up any meetings you need to do. Find out more about your colleagues and managers by looking up their LinkedIn profiles.

2. Getting to know your manager

Microsoft analysed the behaviours of new starters and found that if new employees met with their manager during their first week, they benefited by:

  • having a larger internal network
  • having better-quality meetings
  • spending more time collaborating with their team

If you do not have a virtual meeting with your manager booked into your diary for week one, initiate one. When you speak with them, try to gain insights into their leadership style, expectations, and team dynamics.

In the office, managers pick up on facial expressions, behaviours, and tone of voice and help if they think you need it. In video and phone meetings, it is challenging for line managers to see if you’re struggling. So, don’t be afraid to speak up and check in with your manager for regular feedback.

3. Getting to know your colleagues

Ideally, your manager will send out an announcement to introduce you. In a virtual meeting, it will be more challenging to get to know your team. You might be the only remote worker or the whole team may work at home. You may need to be more explicit about announcing yourself as the new starter. See if you can introduce yourself at the first team meeting. Use emails and internal messaging platforms to let colleagues know you’re the new person, tell them about yourself and your experience and to talk about the work you will be doing. Ensure you ask your new colleagues what they are working on too, as this will help you identify potential workmates and go-to people who you can ask for help.

4. Understanding the culture

When you're working remotely, it can be difficult to understand and be a part of the company culture. Without visiting the office or meeting the team in person, it’s hard to see the team dynamics.

Each organisation you work for has its own unique culture. This culture consists of unspoken goals, accepted practices, people relationships and acronyms that employees use inside the company.

5. Establish communication channels

Remote work relies on effective communication. Ensure you use the communication channels your team uses, whether it's email, messaging apps, or project management tools. Establishing clear communication from the start will enable you to feel connected and informed.

6. Establish your boundaries

Communicate with your new manager and colleagues, make them aware of your working hours and when your normal lunch hour will be. They will then know when you’re not available. Also let them know in advance if you will need to take time out for unavoidable appointments etc. This will manage expectations and reduce the chance of missing actions, which can be stressful for home workers.

7. Establish communication channels

Ask about remote training. Many companies provide online training sessions, webinars, e-learning, and virtual workshops for remote workers. It is a good way to meet more people and understand more about the company and its culture.

Remember, remote onboarding is a collaborative effort, and both you and your employer play roles in ensuring a smooth transition. Embrace all that remote work offers and use available resources to make the most of your new role from the comfort of your own space.