Shaking dozens of hands, taking a tour of the workplace and sharing a lunch with your new coworkers used to be hallmarks of the first day at a new job. However, technological advancements have helped to rapidly expand the number of remote work opportunities in recent years. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, organizations across the globe are now embracing a new way of getting teammates started without having them ever step foot in an office – the virtual first day.
Meeting new people can be a challenge, even without barriers like distance and technological hiccups complicating things. When you add training activities, understanding company culture and identifying expectations to the mix, starting a new job online can become overwhelming quickly.
Here are some tips for having a successful virtual first day at a new job:
After accepting a job offer, you will most likely be coordinating with some combination of human resources, the IT department and your new manager to get set up with what you’ll need in order to work. During this time, you may receive some equipment needed to get started in your new role, like a laptop and a headset. Be sure to follow any instructions that are provided closely, and test any company-provided equipment prior to your virtual first day.
Introduce Yourself, Virtually
No handshakes? No problem! It’s still important to start things off on the right foot by introducing yourself to the organization even while working remote. Be prepared to share a short overview of who you are in conference calls, video chats or via email. Don’t forget to lead with a short introduction any time you interact with an employee you have yet to meet virtually.
Embrace Different Types of Communication
One thing you learn on the first day at a new job is that everyone communicates a little differently; thankfully, you can pick up many of the same social cues on a virtual first day. Find opportunities to use email, text chat, phone calls and video conferencing to fit the situation at hand. For example, you might find it easier to ping your coworker with a quick question via a team chat tool. In other situations, a formal email could fit better, like when communicating with your CEO for the first time.
In addition to remembering information like names and job titles, starting a new job typically involves some amount of role-based training activities, too. In the virtual setting, this could mean attending educational presentations via video calls, completing quizzes and other activities in a learning management system (also referred to as an LMS) and reviewing digital documents, such as an employee training manual or company policy handbook. One benefit of starting a new job virtually is the ability to embrace asynchronous learning, or education that happens at the time and place that works best for the individual. Find a schedule that works best for you by using all of the tools made available for your training.
While organizations are doing their best to prepare new employees to get started using virtual solutions, chances are you may be left with some lingering questions along the way – and that’s okay! Even though you can’t pop over to a coworkers desk to talk, you can still reach out for clarification when needed. Do not hesitate to send an email, make a call or start a chat in order to ask questions. It pays to learn how to do something right the first time; asking questions is just another opportunity to get to know your new coworkers!
While the way we work may be changing, it doesn’t mean that your first day needs to be stressful. Set yourself up for success by preparing before your virtual first day at a new job – no matter what the setting might be!
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