Navigating a new job remotely during the pandemic

What’s it like when Covid-19 forces you to onboard virtually at your new agency? Content Marketing Manager Jion Legaspi talks about her experience.

In September I had a brand new life experience of starting a new job during a pandemic.

I joined alan. as a Content Marketing Manager and was tasked in supporting the marketing team with launching the new agency rebrand within just three weeks of my commencement date. Luckily, I was able to meet some of my team face-to-face in my first week. However a spike in coronavirus cases in late September led to us working from home once again. From then, my contact with the team has been purely virtual. 

Of course there are challenges to acclimatising into a new workplace when doing so virtually, but being welcomed into the team quite quickly and gaining access to information and tools I needed, I was able to adapt quickly and find my feet in my early days at alan. 

Here are four important lessons I learned that allowed me to settle into my new role as soon as possible - 

1. Connect with your colleagues from the very beginning

Getting to know the team was crucial, and I made it an early objective to take the time to talk to as many people as I could from day one.

Suffice to say that my new team was just as enthusiastic about getting to know me as I was with getting to know them. Several of my colleagues reached out to me via LinkedIn DMs prior to my first day welcoming me to the team, which I was very thankful for.

I continued to receive a constant stream of welcoming messages over the next few weeks via Slack. On my end, I was determined to connect with the team further, making sure that I introduced myself to everyone I hadn’t met yet and engaged in conversation with as many people as I could online. 

As a result of efforts on both sides, I was able to build relationships with my new colleagues from the get-go, which in turn actually helped me to better understand the agency as a whole and my role within it. Although nothing is quite the same as talking to people in person, it’s comforting to know that everyone is just one message or call away!

2. Be more adaptable than usual 

Adapting is standard when it comes to starting a new role at an agency, but suddenly the need increases twofold when under working from home conditions. There were new processes, ways of working, tools, technologies and even team dynamics to absorb… all remotely. Despite the hurdles of onboarding behind a computer screen I found being open to learning and accepting everything that came my way helped immensely. 

3. Ask the questions, but prioritise them

Asking all the questions I had made me feel confident about my new responsibilities from the outset and allowed me to get ahead with planning for the alan. agency launch and beyond. In the first few days I was worried about bothering my colleagues with my deluge of questions, but I realised that it was completely OK and the team were happy to help. 

I made sure to approach asking questions in a thoughtful manner by prioritising what I needed to ask first and writing a list for who I needed to ask them to.  

4. Be patient: with yourself and others

Being a new starter and also a self-starter, I was naturally eager to take in everything I needed to know about my job as soon as I could. To do this, I needed a lot of information from others. 

If it weren’t for COVID-19 and we were all working in an office, I could simply reach out to a colleague in person. It’s no secret that working remotely makes it a little bit harder to get an immediate answer. No matter how hard I tried to get ahead, there were limits to the amount of information I could obtain in a day, and only so much I could do about it. 

I found that it was important to be patient and understand that not everything can be done, or found out, in one day… everything takes time, including growing into your role. 

As a workaround I find it useful to schedule a quick 10-15 minute catch up with whoever I want to speak with. This is a positive move in several ways because I am able to communicate with the person verbally (which is refreshing after typing all day), get all the information I need and also fit in a friendly chat!

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