What’s It Like Being a New Starter When Working from Home?

Posted on Monday, November 23, 2020 by The Office Zen MasterNo comments

We know that the vast majority of those starting new office support jobs in London are currently starting sat behind a computer screen at home. It’s a very different kettle of fish from what new starters have previously experienced. To help anyone in a similar position, we chatted to a few of our candidates who’ve recently been placed in new roles based at home.

Information overload

“The first week was overwhelming,” Marie told us. I was sent so much information to get my head around. It was information overload. It wasn’t like in a new office, where you can gradually learn the systems; it was all written information. By the end of that first week, I was shattered. A month on, and I finally feel like I’ve taken everything on board.”

Socialising helped

Marcus explained how his new colleagues made things easier: “On my first day, I was e-mailed a schedule for the week. I immediately noticed a few different social events. There was a quiz, a pizza lunch (where the pizza was delivered to my house!), a bingo night, and a team-building virtual escape room. My heart sank. But actually, I think it was those elements that made me feel part of the team pretty quickly. I got to know everyone and the company culture without the awkwardness of unstructured video calls.”

Training was front-heavy

Rebecca explained how her new company handled things. “For the first three days, all I did was virtual training on the company computer systems. I’ve done lots of temping in London before, and I know that being au fait with the technology is key, so this was particularly great for me. Even after those first three days, there was a real focus on training, which I found really helpful.”

Regular communications

“I was given a work buddy,” says Adam. “He was introduced to me on the first day, and he checked in with me twice-a-day for the first week and then gradually less as time went on. He was there to make sure I fully understood things and was there whenever I had a question. It’s something I’d recommend for all new starters who are working remotely.”

IT made things difficult

Jane had a tricky start to her new job as an HR administrator. “I couldn’t connect until 2pm on my first day,” she told us. “It was so stressful. All of the things that had been planned for my first day couldn’t take place. Everything felt out-of-step for the first week. I felt it somehow reflected badly on me, even though it was all down to IT!”

Culture has been hard to gauge

“It’s been quite hard to work out what the company culture is because I mostly just communicate with different individuals,” Kate explained. “In an office, you see how different people interact, which doesn’t happen remotely. It’s quite weird. I think I fit in, but to be honest, I want to get into the office so I can get a proper look at what the culture is like.”

Advice for new starters

If you’re a new starter working remotely, then our biggest tip is to communicate with your new manager and team. Take the initiative and check-in with them. Also, be honest. Explain if you feel you need more guidance in a particular area, and share any concerns you have. Everyone is in the same boat, and they’re learning too, so help them to give you what you need to settle in well.


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