Starting a new job remotely – some helpful guidance

Placement student working from home on a laptop
Photo by Tina Witherspoon on Unsplash

Working remotely: some helpful advice

Starting any new job can feel daunting and in normal circumstances, most companies dedicate a couple of days in the beginning of your new job to showing you around, often allocating you a buddy or mentor, and generally helping you settle in.

Due to current circumstances you may find yourself in the position of starting your placement or graduate job remotely.

Here is some helpful advice for remote working

Setting your boundaries between work and your personal life

It’s important to look after your physical and mental wellbeing. Muddying the boundaries between home and work can be unsettling, so follow these tips to keep a clear separation between ‘home’ and ‘work.’

  • Develop a routine for starting work, just as you would if you were commuting.
  • Wherever possible, set up a dedicated workspace that you can leave behind at the end of the day. If this isn’t possible, try to clear away your laptop from wherever you have been working or otherwise signal to yourself you have ‘left work’.
  • Dress as you would if you were working in the office, to put you in the right frame of mind
  • Keep regular hours. You may be able to negotiate early or late starts or finishes, depending on the company, and which other colleagues you need to work alongside. Make sure you are clear when you start and finish.
  • Schedule regular breaks and get up and move about!
  • Do regular stretches – This post suggests some stretches to do.

Beginning your new role

1. Working with your line manager

Hopefully your line manager will have an introductory meeting with you and introduce you to colleagues. As well as this first meeting, it’s great to have regular one to ones with your line manager – if these are not offered, then request a regular quick check in.

Develop a clear outline of what is expected of you. Set up regular review meetings, either as part of the regular catch ups with your line manager (if they are happy to do this) or monthly. This will help you feel confident that you are on track with what you are expected to achieve within the placement or job.

Find out the preferred way of communicating within your team and your line manager. This might be phone, Microsoft Teams, other online meeting platforms, or email: people have different ways of working so gradually get used to what works best (and what generates responses!).

Have you got the equipment you need? See if there is anything additional that they think you need, whether that’s software or hardware.

2. Your professional development

Even though you are remote working, there should still be opportunities to develop your skills. Begin with a skills-audit – what do you need to brush up on? How is your Excel, for example? The company you work for may offer access to online training, which it’s great to take advantage of.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions: people would rather you feel confident to proceed, rather than hesitate because you are unsure about something, so it’s always good to ask.

3. Online networking

Are there other people also new to the company? See if you can get together online occasionally. You can also ask the company to provide some form of online induction for you all, so that you can meet each other and so that the company is sure to make sure you know about procedures.

Remember, this way of working may have been a change for many of your colleagues too – everyone has had to readjust. If you feel a little unsure, do ask for help and be reassured you are not alone.

Remote working – positive takeaways

Learning how to work remotely, with all the resilience, flexibility and professionalism that this entails, is going to be a real positive for your future career and will stand you in very good stead.

For more information and some great ideas from someone currently working remotely on a placement, look at this post from Next Step Support.

This blog has been written by University of Surrey Careers Adviser, Janie Angell.