Ten Things I Have Learned Starting A New Job Remotely
Despite 2020 being the year equivalent of Derby County’s disastrous 2007-08 Premier League campaign, I was fortunate enough to start an exciting new chapter in my career as I joined the Fifty Digital team in early July.
The excitement I felt at joining the award-winning and industry-leading team was somewhat tinged by the fact that I was doing so remotely. Don’t get me wrong, the chance to start a new job in sport is ideal for me, but in a creative industry where you need to constantly keep up-to-date with the latest developments and bounce ideas off one another, I was concerned I wouldn’t be able to hit the ground running.
It turns out that I needn’t be worried as the guys at Fifty Digital really made me feel welcome and at ease straight away. So here are ten things I have learned as I now near the end of my second month of starting a job remotely.
Hopefully it can be of help to any new starters or employers out there…
1. The little things make a big difference – When starting a new job you want as little to worry about as possible so you can start making an impression on your colleagues (ideally a good one). Fifty Digital ensured that this was the case for me as my computer arrived on Sunday ready for the Monday morning, while my diary was full of brief one-to-ones with every member of the team. Whilst a chat after work over a drink would have been preferred, the effort they went to make me feel welcome was not lost.
2. Remembering names is easier on video calls – I am not going to lie, I am not great with names. I think working in sport and meeting so many different people – athletes, coaches, sponsorship managers, reporters etc – makes it tricky for names to stick. However, this is all done for you thanks to having to restrict your chats to video calls. Thank You Slack, Zoom and Microsoft Teams for doing a lot of the hard work for me.
3. There’s no such thing as a silly question – In an office it is easy to simply lean over and ask someone the most important questions – how do I get an expenses sheet? Where do I find the company fonts? What’s the deal with that guy? You feel like you can’t ask these simple questions when working remotely as you don’t want to bug people or waste anyone’s time. Luckily, our workflow and instant messaging system (plus friendly team!) allows for dropping someone a quick message which essentially saves time in the long run
4. Virtual coffee mornings are better than nothing – I miss the buzz of an office – working around others, bouncing ideas off one another and generally getting to know people. However, allocating time one morning a week to have a chat with different people in the team each week about things that aren’t work related helps bridge that gap. Especially when you’re the new kid!
5. Play the long game – Everyone is eager to stamp their mark in a new job. And that feeling is multiplied when starting remotely as you want to feel part of the team as quickly as possible. But, out of sight doesn’t mean out of mind so don’t try to walk before you can run. Get your head around the basics and the rest will come (hopefully…)
6. My cat doesn’t care about my new job – The main beneficiaries of lockdown has been more time spent with my needy cat, Alf. I remember telling him that I had a new job but when the day came, he still demanded my full attention. He also HATES closed doors which can make introductory video calls a bit strange. He has been spoiled in 2020 and will not play second fiddle…
7. Remember to unplug – That eagerness to impress when starting a new job is to be expected. But add to that the fact that initially things will take you longer to get your head round, be careful to not stay glued to your screen. Make sure you are having a lunch break and set yourself boundaries – you have been hired for a reason and they presumably want you to stick around for a long time.
8. Quiche is the underrated lunch of champions – Now I have had my fair share of quiches, although only really ever at parties or events. However, when you aren’t sure if your lunch break will be interrupted then a quiche can save the day! Hot or cold it’s a winner. There are so many options. Healthy-ish too (I think?!?)
9. Location, Location, Location – You’re trying to make a good impression and portray yourself as a professional, so your new colleagues don’t need to know that you own every Fulham season review since 1999. Get your video call position set up wayyy ahead of day one to save yourself any embarassment.
10. Be Yourself – You got this job for a reason, don’t forget that!