What you need to know before you start your new remote job!

“Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent and not enough time on what is important.”
~Stephen Covey

As the country continues to grapple with the effects of COVID 19, the economic effects are gradually being felt. Employees in the aviation industry, transport sector as well tourism sector have either been furloughed or laid off. Job loss in this particular environment can be difficult, if not complicated, given that jobs seem to be scarce and hard to find. This does not mean that there is no hope for you. Organizations are increasingly realigning their workforce as they seek to diversify and confront the challenges that have been presented by COVID-19.

Remote working is new for most organizations.

A survey carried out in Kenya in 2019 indicated that 63.3% of millennials in the country would prefer to have flexible working hours. For years, organizations have been slow to adopt flexible or remote working models. This crisis has been a crash program for most of organizations. Amidst challenges with infrastructure and cyber security, human resource managers have had to reconsider their talent management strategies.

An organization may have hired you remotely but that does not mean that processes such as onboarding have been integrated into the remote working model. Adapting the onboarding experience to remote working might not be a priority for the organization at the moment. As the new hire, it counts to have that in mind. It helps you keep your expectations in check and directs you towards asking questions that can ease your entry into the organization.

What do you need to do as the new hire?

Your attitude determines your altitude

Focus on the bright side of things even as you ease into your new role. Remote working is the future of work moved forward. It can be adapted to various roles with relative ease. You will not have to worry about going to an office most of the time hence it is safe.  Be enthusiastic about it. Learn every day. Embrace the opportunity to tackle a new challenge. 

You should have a proactive approach towards learning given that it may not be possible to be in the same space with your colleagues. Schedule time at the beginning and at the end of the day to draft questions you may have about your work. In the office, your team mates can easily pick up a quizzical look and clarify their points. Due to the limitations of virtual technologies, this may not be possible during a video conference call. Embrace a “think-on-your-feet” approach and seek clarification whenever you are uncertain on matters arising during a virtual meeting or phone call.

Every organization has its unspoken norms. It is easy to pick on these while working in a physical office. When working virtually, this may prove to be challenging. Schedule one-on-one meetings with at least two or three colleagues in order to get to know the company’s culture better. These interactions can be an opportunity to talk about the projects you are working on as well as learning about the projects that your colleagues are working on. This will provide you with insights that can help you address some of the challenges you could be facing.

In addition to this, it is easy to assume that virtual technologies are sufficient to remind you of what needs to be done. Keep a notebook and a pen on your desk as you work. It is easy to forget new aspects of your new “office.” Writing notes in a diary and reading them later can help you with that.

Etiquette

The fact that you are “technically” at work does not mean you are not at work. Observe the company’s dress code at all times. Be formal and polite in your verbal and written communication. Your managers may not be there to supervise your every move but this is not an excuse to binge watch television shows or chat incessantly during working hours.  A daily routine is essential in ensuring that you succeed as a remote employee. 

 IT considerations

Every organization has its own IT policies which are particularly important when working remotely. Learn these policies and observe them. Some organizations might require their employees to work via VPN’s in order to ease access to resources in the main servers. As a result of this, the speeds may be affected. Patience, they say, can cook a stone. Embrace the challenge that comes with it and learn to work around it. If the organization allocates resources such as data bundles and call resources, it is important to ensure that those resources are strictly utilized for carrying out work related functions. It may also be important to identify a room within your house with minimal distractions. This will enhance your productivity and ensure that you meet your objectives.

Performance considerations

It is important to understand the metrics that will be used to gauge your performance in order to focus your efforts. For instance, if you are in the sales and marketing department, you need to work towards ensuring you generate a specific number of leads per day in order to meet your monthly target. If you are working as an accountant, you need to have a daily flow of tasks that culminates into meeting the month’s objectives.

Planning ahead is the first step towards getting ahead.  

 Identify your mentors

*. There are two types of mentors. The first type of mentors is comprised of people who know how to get things done within the organization. The second group of mentors is comprised of people who are well connected within the organization and beyond and helps you navigate key spaces with ease. If you have just started working remotely, the first group of people is essential. Using emails and professional networks like LinkedIn, you can work towards building a network that will help you succeed in your career.

Announce that you are new

People tend to notice a new face in the office with relative ease. In such circumstances, they easily offer help. This is not possible when working remotely. Whenever there is a team meeting, make an effort to introduce yourself in the early stages of the meeting. You can also indicate that you are new to the team in your emails. This will enable your colleagues to bring you up to date on any details that you may not be aware of. It is not easy to be the new person in the office and the current situation does not make it any easier. By being proactive, asking for help and building relationships, you will eventually adopt to your new remote job.

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