Starting a new engineering or IT job is challenging enough. But remote working adds another level of difficulty when thinking about how to fit into a new workplace.
Here are some hints and tips about easing your entry into a new position when starting remotely:
How to fit into a new workplace when starting remotely
1) Expect it to be different
Meeting an office full of new people is very different from meeting people for the first time through a screen.
It sounds obvious, but a simple mental acknowledgement that things will be different is a good place to start.
Check out what your new employer has in mind early on. You should hope and expect a carefully thought-out remote onboarding process to be in place.
2) Strike the right tone
Punctuality and politeness are just as important with online meetings and chats as they are in person. Make sure you’re on time and striking the right tone from the outset.
In some ways, this can be simpler than normal office interactions. For a start, there’s no traffic to make you late on your first day.
Secondly, you’re only “on display” for limited periods. It’s much easier to focus all your efforts on being friendly, positive, and polite for a short time than it is to monitor every aspect of what you’re doing – and any potentially interesting habits of new colleagues – for an entire day.
Aim for a neutral tone to begin with and make sure you pay attention to the “vibe” of other people’s interactions to make sure your contributions are in step with the company culture.
3) Be proactive about building lines of communication
Developing strong lines of communication is vital if your new remote working position is going to be a fulfilling experience and work the way it’s supposed to.
For instance, if you’ve just started your dream job as Head of Data and you only meet with certain members of your team once in a while, that’s not laying the groundwork for good management.
No matter the seniority of your new role, suggesting possible changes and highlighting communication issues in a way that’s sensitive and thoughtful rather than forceful will pay dividends.
4) Be as social as you can
Don’t rely on your new line manager to set up social interactions with your new team for you.
Hopefully, they will do this. Most organisations that have put even a little thought into their remote working onboarding will employ some kind of mentoring system too.
Yet leaving your social interactions with a new team entirely in the hands of someone else is usually a mistake. Try to:
- Join in with any social activities that are offered
- Arrange “virtual lunches” and other socials to get one-on-one time with new colleagues
- Focus on building relationships with people you sense a connection with
- Be yourself (even across a video link it’s often obvious when people are inauthentic)
- Ask questions (even if they’re the equivalent to “where do you keep the paperclips?”)
5) Get involved
As someone freshly hired for an IT or engineering job, it’s easy to want to sit back and let others speak for the first few meetings. This is even more tempting on something like Zoom or Teams.
However, while you don’t want to waltz in and start shouting your opinion, it’s also often a mistake to sit back too far.
If you have something useful to contribute, make the extra effort to have your say. Remember that people want team members that add value. Someone that simply sits quietly can feel like someone who isn’t pulling their weight.
Remote working – how to fit into a new workplace
Fitting into a new remote working job, especially in an IT or engineering field, isn’t much different from starting a new job in person. The only real difference is that you need to make a little more effort and be a little more explicit about communication.
It might be a little harder to form those friendly working relationships naturally. But as with all workplaces, it’s worth the effort if you want to enjoy turning on the computer and “going to” work every day.
Looking for your new dream remote working job in IT or engineering?
Let’s talk. Ernest Gordon is a specialist engineering and IT recruitment agency. With a proven, transparent process, we match new and experienced professionals with their ideal roles every day.
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