Starting a new job during COVID

November 12, 2020 Claranet Limited

Sima Patel
Product Manager

Starting a new job can be nerve-racking at the best of times but doing this during a global pandemic adds an extra layer of uncertainty.  

On the first day, I had a warm welcome to Claranet in the office with very few people all socially distant. I met with Gemma, the recruitment administrator who had made me feel so comfortable through the whole recruitment process. I followed on to meet my new manager Sandy, Head of Portfolio Management, who was lovely. The first two days were spent in the office to get all my hardware together as another office closure was looming… and it happened. Six months of home working is now ahead, but what have I learnt in these first few weeks? 

After a month in the company, there are some recommendations I would make: 

Test everything works 

Most of us experience at least one (if not more) tech glitches when starting in a new company. Prepare by familiarising yourself with the on-boarding processes. Make sure you’ve looked through any of the kit and system access that’s required. Check your tech is set up and (if possible) ask for anything else you need to work successfully at home. Make sure you have the contact details for relevant people. This way, you’ll be less likely to hit a stumbling block and won’t have to resort to running around your living room in a complete panic. 

Reach out and say “hello” 

While most worries are intensified by the formality of starting a new job via Teams chats, calls, and e-mail discussions, reaching out to say “hello” to new colleagues is actually easier via an online platform. Just think, no awkward shuffling across the office to unfamiliar desks to explain why you’ve come over! Take the opportunity to learn who your team are and gradually drop each of them an e-mail asking for a quick five minute catch up to learn about exactly what they do. 

Have a daily planned routine 

In a ‘real’ office environment, your first week’s meetings would be scheduled around most people being in the same place. Lunch would fall at a similar time to everyone else, and a quick tea break could be fit in around your colleague’s timetables. With so many people juggling (and adjusting to) new childcare needs/ working from home/ supporting neighbours etc, this is a lot harder to replicate in an online environment. Create your own daily schedule by setting your alarm for the same time each day, pencilling in a tea break, allocating a lunch slot, and allow a short period for exercise. The routine will help you feel more in control and, in turn, more at home in your new ‘surroundings’. 

Ask questions, but prioritise 

We all want to know the answer to EVERYTHING we can possibly digest as soon as we start a new job. It makes us feel like we are getting to know the role better. It’s natural to fear the unknown, so try telling yourself that you’re not uncertain, you’re just curious. Write down a list of question and break them into levels of importance. Your new team might also feel overwhelmed by the recent changes and overloading them with absolutely everything you want to know might feel a bit intense. 

Lower your expectation of yourself 

This is good advice and has been said to me by a couple of people, given the unusual circumstances. We’re keen to prove to everyone that they’d hired the right person for the job. We’d already frantically started making notes and plans and were worried about how to translate this virtually. Sandy’s advice is to, “Lower your expectation of yourself right now. Your team already know you’re adjusting, they’re all figuring out their roles in a new space too. They know you’re doing all of this during a global crisis”. 

From the many Team’s meetings I have had with various colleagues to introduce myself, one of the most common things people said was Claranet is a great place to work.  After a month of being here - so far, I would agree, and I look forward to the journey with my Claranet family.  

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