It’s normal to feel nervous about your first day in a new job. Even more so when your first meeting with your team is online or over the phone. But, it is absolutely possible to build positive and productive relationships in your new place of work despite working remotely. Working collaboratively with your new team, mentor and line manager can make starting a new job remotely a very positive experience.

Don’t put so much pressure on yourself to impress that you don’t leave time to switch off and slow down. Organising your time, planning your days and communicating with your peers will help to keep you on track. So, don’t worry about your face on a video call or how many questions you’re asking of your mentor – throw yourself in and soak up the team atmosphere as much as you possibly can.  Give yourself time to settle in.

Some tips and guidance on how to settle into your new job while working remotely.

Be clear on what’s included in the onboarding plans for your first few weeks – this is a good topic for questions in your final interview and for your first day.  Suggest a socially distanced meeting prior to your start date or in the first week – take the initiative if nothing has been suggested. Make sure you get involved with your new team. Keep your standards high – be on time for meetings, dress appropriately, plan your days and be willing and open to all learning opportunities. Take proactive steps to work with a mentor or colleague to familiarise yourself with practices, technologies, projects. Take it upon yourself to communicate with others regularly.

Not having someone next to you in the office to ask questions to makes a big difference to some of the easy to solve issues. So, what might you have forgotten to ask?

How to book annual leave, who’s who in the team, what specific company jargon means, who is the best person to speak to about your specific role/project, the mobile numbers of key stakeholders should you need to make contact, HR details, wellbeing officer information and payroll contact information.

Make an effort to take notes during your inevitable introduction meetings during the first few weeks. It’s hard to build those early bonds without being able to gauge body language, so picking up on small details and experiences will help you to begin to build those relationships.

Have you got everything you need – technology, kit, logins etc? If not, do ask. Take that initiative so you can do your job to the best of your ability.

If you do feel lost, disconnected or isolated at any point there are a number of things you can do to re-motivate yourself and dispel any doubts you may be having. The number one thing is to communicate with your mentor, line manager or relevant leader in the business. Working remotely and feeling disengaged can escalate quickly into you becoming unproductive and anxious. Identifying these feelings and acting to find a solution quickly will help to get you back on track.

Don’t forget that everyone has wobbles when it comes to remote working and there will be people to empathise and support you through it.

Take lunchbreaks, switch off your computer at the end of the working day, stay hydrated, take some daily exercise and try to avoid overworking. Just because your laptop and emails are easily accessible, doesn’t mean that you need to check on them at 9pm. Take time out and enjoy your evening.

Getting into these good habits early on in your new job will stand you in good stead as you progress. It also sets out the expectations early on which your team can understand. You will be more productive and more impressive if you have a daily plan and good boundaries between remote working and your own time.

A quick, simple but important tip for employers:

Make sure you assign your new starter a mentor and set out a plan for what that new starter / mentor partnership will look like.

Assigning a mentor to each new starter can really help to get remote onboarding right. A simple plan and go to person will help to make the onboarding process smoother. Work out how each person likes to communicate – Bob likes to speak over the phone, Sue is best to contact on whatsapp because her signal at home isn’t too good, Mo prefers video calls while Sanja will respond best to clearly laid out questions by email. Some people may have responsibility for childcare at home so work between certain hours of the day – perhaps devise a chart for who does what so the new starter can get the very best out of them.