In the evolving landscape of job market, remote work has become more common. According to Statistics Canada, as of November 2023, 20% of Canadians are working most of their hours from home, out of which 12.6% exclusively work from home.
From a jobseeker perspective, remote work has its advantages. It may give you an opportunity to design your work schedule, work flexible hours and manage work life balance that everyone strives for. But if this is your first stint in remote work, navigating through the transition requires a thoughtful approach.
Starting your first day working remotely, is still full of excitement, jitters and meeting new people but in a different format. Working remotely doesn’t mean you need to miss out on getting to know your team and work culture.
Here are some tips to help you transition in a new remote job:
Tip 1 - Make day one count!
Your first day at a new job is extremely important to set you up for success. When joining work remotely, it is likely that you will have a number of video calls on the first day of your new job with your manager, colleagues, HR team and in some cases, even clients. Dress like you would if you were going to the office – don’t take any short cuts.
Dressing like you would in the office helps you feel confident. Always use a professional looking background for your calls. If you do not wish to have a background, make sure you clear any clutter around your desk and have a pen and notepad ready for noting down important information during these first calls. Adjust your camera and microphone to your comfort and test them before calls.
You are likely to have the first call with your reporting manager. This is your opportunity to ask any questions you have. Your manager will be happy to answer the questions as it reflects your interest and enthusiasm toward the role. Transparency at the outset will help you perform better in the long term.
Tip 2 – Proactive is the key to learning!
On your first day of work, you will probably need to introduce yourself several times to different team members. Before your first day prepare a short introduction for yourself that you can readily use. Include your career background, education and perhaps an interesting hobby or interest that you pursue. If someone else from the team shares a common interest, you may find yourself a perfect ice breaker. You may want to check out your coworkers on LinkedIn in advance to find some similar experiences, hobbies or friends.
Proactively set up individual meetings with your manager and team members after your first introductory team meeting. That way you can have a one-one conversation with everyone in your team. If you are leading a team, set up individual calls with each person. Make a note of the names and roles of each person you interact with. This helps to foster bonding with your new team, know everyone’s role in detail and assist in building a great working relationship in future.
Tip 3 – Vocalizing your work and updates.
One of the key aspects of virtual work is reporting and updating, not only to your manager, but also to your team. During early interactions with your manager and your team, you may already know the expectations around reporting. If working on an individual project, have a conversation about reporting and update protocols with your manager. Understand how they prefer to be reported about your work and how frequently.
Understand what tools and software they are using to communicate. Are they using Slack to track larger projects? How are they communicating informally and formally? For example, instant messaging; mobile texts, emails? What is the right format for the content of the conversations?
Tip 4 – Asking & answering questions.
No matter how experienced you are, at some point it is likely that you may experience a roadblock or have a question about how work gets done. When working in office, you may be able to simply walk-in to a colleague’s desk or to your manager to ask him a question. However, in virtual workspace, you might need to handle it differently.
Most organizations have weekly virtual meetings dedicated to help teams with any work issues and roadblocks. Inquire about such meetings with your manager or team and request to be a part of them. Even if you may not have any questions initially, you can learn a lot through these meetings which can help you get acclimatized to your new role.
Tip 5 – Establish boundaries & downtime.
One of the key aspects of managing efficient work from home is drawing a line between work and personal time. Understand expectations around working hours from your manager and make sure to stay offline in your personal time. It not only helps you to achieve better work-life balance, but also makes you look professional. Moreover, having this distinction from onset also helps your colleagues and managers to plan your work efficiently. If you are heading a team, make sure that your team’s personal time is respected and you are not reaching out to them outside office hours, unless it is an emergency.
If you are working within a team, participate in team building activities wholeheartedly. Remember to get comfortable and enjoy working. Use this opportunity to build long term friendly rapport.
Having a team that you feel comfortable with and enjoy working with is a prerequisite to thriving in a remote position. It can help you feel less isolated and enhance your feeling of belonging to a team and the organization you work for.
Starting a job remotely can be a very different experience for some and you may find it challenging at first. But establishing a ‘work from home schedule’ and gaining digital fluency with new tools will help you to transition in your new virtual job easily.
If you are currently looking for a new role, reach out to our team of recruiters across Canada. For more than 46 years, Agilus has served our candidate and employer networks, connecting job seekers with meaningful opportunities. We place nearly 10,000 job seekers in roles every year in Engineering, Technology, Professional/Office, and Light Industrial.
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