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Why Starting A New Job Remotely Shouldn't Scare You

These are odd times for the employment world. In truth, you could make a strong case for them being revolutionary times. Since the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic in the first quarter of 2020, two major paradigm shifts have fundamentally altered how people work and pursue work.

The first is the rise of remote working. With their hands forced by lockdown restrictions, even intensely reluctant companies had to let their employees start working from home, and it’s now become the standard. Even when it’s viable to return to offices, many people will want to remain working from home (some permanently, others on a part-time basis).

The second is a loss of trust in corporate loyalty. Even years after the concept of lifelong job security became outmoded, there were still plenty of people who believed that working hard for their bosses would keep them safe when times got tough. When they were cast aside due to COVID-19 woes, they came to accept the truth: many business owners are highly selfish.

As a result of these two things, more and more people aren’t just preferring to work remotely: they’re also requiring it from the outset. And since it’s cheaper and easier for companies to go along with that, many new hires are starting their jobs remotely. This can be scary, even if it’s what you want, but you shouldn’t be scared — and here’s why.

Everyone’s in the same boat at this point

Whenever you’re having difficulty dealing with something, it helps to know that other people are dealing with the same thing, and that’s true here. So many people have already gone through the strange process of remotely joining a team, overcoming the challenges involved. Since that’s the case, why should you be scared? It clearly isn’t that big a problem.

You probably know people who’ve handled the pivot to working remotely, and there’s a decent chance that you’ve already experienced remote working. Starting a job remotely isn’t that different from starting a job in an office. In some ways it’s easier: you don’t need to dress to impress, find your way to the building, or go through any stressful commuting.

Besides, you’ll have been through a virtual interview, so you’ll have had your first conversations with your new boss (or bosses). Since that all went well, why should the actual job be any different? Have confidence in your abilities, and let people know if you’re feeling overwhelmed. After everything that’s happened in 2020, they’re going to be strongly empathetic.

You can mostly recreate the office experience

Maybe your idea of professional comfort is the classic office structure: bright lights, chair that’s comfortable but not too comfortable, convenient computer setup… There’s certainly appeal to that kind of arrangement. Sure, it’s nice to work from a bench on occasion (see the featured image), but it’s going to give you back problems soon enough.

Well, while you can’t recreate every part of that scenario, you can mimic much of it. Keep in mind that your new employer should contribute to your home office, so go to them with your proposed costs. If possible, swap out your bulbs for some high-power LEDs, or pick up a light panel to keep you alert. Get rid of your old spare-room seat and bring in a sensible office chair.

You should receive a suitable business laptop before you even start, of course. If you already have a laptop, you can still use it: take out the hard drive, pick up a hard drive docking station, and you can easily copy over your personal files (then use that drive as a backup) to keep your work and personal life separate. By the end of the setup process, you should have a comfortable home office that allows you to feel comfortable handling your daily workload.

There’s plenty of time to get up to speed

One of the biggest reasons why new hires feel scared is that they feel like imposters. In other words, they suspect that they’ll be exposed as frauds when they can’t demonstrate adequate knowledge. This is true of office workers, but things are much worse when you’re working remotely because your connection to the company seems so much weaker.

What you need to keep reminding yourself is that you’re not in a huge rush to be fully up to speed. New hires always need time to become familiar with their new responsibilities, and no company worth working for will require you to hit the ground running. In truth, your new boss is unlikely to be ready for you to be working at full efficiency. It will probably take them time to figure out your workload and add you to the relevant projects.

There’s a reason why the typical probationary period lasts at least a month. It takes time to figure out what someone brings to the table, which means you have time to prove yourself. Relax and concentrate on maximizing your strengths. What can you do to help out? Read what you can, absorb the provided materials, and you’ll get where you need to be.

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Last updated: 15 Dec 2020

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