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April 13, 2021, by Jackie Thompson

Starting a New Job Remotely: How To Prepare

By Stacey McIntosh, Editor-in-Chief of Sage Advice UK.  

Starting a new role is daunting at the best of times, especially if it’s your first job. But as you’ll be working remotely now and most likely for the foreseeable, you’ll probably want to know what to expect and how you can prepare. 

Before your first week 

In the weeks leading up to your start date, there are some things you can do to help ease anticipation and feel as prepared as possible.

Research the company (again) 

Have a re-read of your new company’s website, including the ‘About Us’ and ‘Meet the Team’ pages, and the ‘Recent Work’ or case studies sections. Also, take a look at their social media pages to see if they’ve shared any interesting news.

Familiarising yourself with the company’s values, stories and faces will help you to understand who and what to expect. It might help in making the company feel a little less alien to you.

Reach out 

Some companies send an email with important information one week before new team members join, which can include details of your schedule, any personal documents they’ll need (for example, your passport), the plan for getting office equipment to you as well as instructions on how to log on.

If you don’t receive this information within a few days of starting, don’t be afraid to reach out and ask your employer for it.

You could also ask if there’s anything you need to prepare, what tasks you’ll be doing and if there’s any further reading you can get stuck into to get up to speed with the business. This not only shows your enthusiasm but will give you a to-do list to keep you busy.

Think of conversation starters 

During your first week, you’ll want to make a good impression and build rapport. But this can be harder on video and phone calls, so come prepared with some light conversations or questions for your new colleagues. These can include things such as how long they’ve been working at the business, how their career has progressed, or how everyone has adapted to working from home (if applicable).

You could also think of some questions that your new colleagues might ask you, such as “how are you finding it so far?” Or “what’s your background?” It’s a good idea to write these potential questions down and plan what your answers might be, so you’re not stumped for something to say.

During your first week 

Your first week at a new role would usually be centred around getting to know the people, the office and the role itself. But, as face-to-face interaction isn’t possible, your onboarding will most likely take place over several video calls.

During your onboarding, a member of the HR team or your manager should take you through several things:

  • An employee handbook: This should include a presentation about the company’s culture, values, mission, perks and benefits.
  • The HR system: This should include how you get paid, how to book a holiday, the sick leave procedure and the pension policy. They should also check that they have the correct details for you on their payroll software system – this is important for making sure the information on your payslip is correct!

After your onboarding, your manager is likely to start delegating tasks to you or ask you to set up calls with other members of the team to introduce yourself. Throughout these calls, there are a few things you can do to make the conversations productive and to get real value out of them:

  • Ask questions: There’s no such thing as a silly question. If you don’t understand something, don’t be afraid to ask for clarification.
  • Offer help: If an opportunity presents itself, ask your manager if there’s anything you can assist with. This will fill your to-do list and show you’re keen to get stuck in.
  • Get to know people: Making friends and connections is a big part of a new job. But without the usual office environment, you might have to think of new ways to be social with your teammates. Why not suggest a video call coffee morning or a virtual lunch? This puts you in an informal setting and shows how much you want to get to know everyone.

After your first week 

Once you’re more settled into your role, you could start thinking about what challenges and goals you want to overcome, as it’s never too early to begin thinking about progression.

With this in mind, you could ask your manager for a meeting to discuss what’s expected of you in the next three, six and twelve months. Coming armed with some short and long-term goals that you’d like to achieve will show you’ve really thought about what it is you want from your new role.

For more advice on navigating your first day, first few weeks and beyond, go to our Alumni website. As a graduate of the University, you can still use our services and speak to an adviser.

Posted in Careers AdviceEmployer Insights