5 ways to impress your team if you have to start your new job remotely

  • Remote working is very different from in-person if you haven’t worked at the company before. 
  • Starting a new job remotely can be challenging as workers adapt to building relationships online.
  • From organizing Zoom catch-ups to learning the company culture, you can make the process easier.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Remote work is on the rise and so many more people have to join new teams online. Just as there are factors to bear in mind when looking and applying for a remote job, starting a new job remotely requires certain preparations.

We all do many small things when starting a new job, whether it’s going out to lunch with your manager or asking lots of questions — but this might not be possible in an online context.

Only one in 10 companies expect all their employees to return to the office after the pandemic and firms including Google are already planning to accommodate remote work in the long-term.

It’s important to remember some disadvantages come with remote work — it’s harder to build relationships, find contacts, and move up the job ladder.

However, there are some things you can do to start on the right foot and impress people in no time.

The Muse has come up with a list of five actions that could change the way you approach your new remote job.

Clue yourself up on the company culture

“Ultimately, you get ahead by getting a pulse on the culture,” founder of workplace experience service C-Track Training, Lawrese Brown, told The Muse.

It can be difficult to get a feel for the company culture when you’re not physically there, but Brown suggested certain questions you can ask yourself to build a picture of it.

Interrogating aspects of the company like how people ask questions at work, share ideas, or conduct Zoom meetings could make your integration process a lot smoother.

Brown also cautioned that part of the company culture is being aware of what doesn’t fly at work — so keep an eye out for what your company considers behavioral red flags.

Make it feel like you’re there in person

Working from home can be tough as it’s difficult to build relationships with your colleagues. Surveys by Nintex and PwC showed that remote working might particularly affect younger employees, who feel less productive at home.

One solution to this is to use online tools to get to know the people you work with. Art Markman, professor of psychology and marketing at the University of Texas at Austin, suggested scheduling a few video calls.

Having a catch-up over Zoom still isn’t a great substitute for in-person interaction, but it feels much more human than a few messages and emails here and there.

Respect your colleagues’ boundaries

The flip side of online conversations is that some people might not be as thrilled as you are to catch up and it’s important to be respectful of that.

The pandemic has worsened issues of loneliness and many employees can feel isolated at work. However, constant video calls can lead to “Zoom fatigue,” and so some people may not be as keen to video chat as you are.

Lawrese Brown said one way to deal with this was to assess the other person’s reaction when suggesting a video call. If you sense some hesitation, it’s best to come up with alternative ways you could connect.

Being aware of their boundaries and what works for them will ultimately lead to a better working relationship.

Show your co-workers you’re interested

Making your colleagues feel involved and listened to is a key way to earn their trust. Showing you’re listening isn’t always easy online, but including personalized elements in your interactions with them will help.

Brown said you could follow up on a meeting by referencing ideas they mentioned or areas they said they were interested in.

For example, “Hi, I loved your suggestion of a company games night — how do you think we could go about organizing it?” shows a lot more investment than a simple “Hi” that doesn’t tell them what you’re looking for.

Scout out the key players in the company

Working from home can also make it more difficult to get to know your “connectors.” According to Art Markman, a connector is “someone who knows all the people you should know in order to make things happen.”

As you’re unlikely to bump into people from other departments when working from home or colleagues in other branches, sometimes organizing a chat with them or reaching out can open up opportunities.

One way around this could be to ask your manager or colleagues whether they know them and ask for an introduction.

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