What It’s Like to Start a New Job Remotely During Quarantine

We live in a super weird world right now, my friends. Like, real weird. Nothing is “normal” anymore, from trips to the grocery store to work – for all of us.

I 100% want to kick this blog post off with a giant thank you to all the essential workers on the front line – medical staff, grocery store clerks, delivery drivers, you name it. Just a massive thank you.

As a social media manager and blogger, my work has always been online and very easy to do remotely. I was actually working a handful of days per week remotely prior to quarantine, so my working life hasn’t changed a ton.

Except I’m now working a new full-time job.

I briefly mentioned my job transition over on Instagram, but in all honesty I’ve been on the quieter side about it because I am hyper aware how unique and, transparently, privileged my position is. I made a move to a sister company as a role opened up – which is a very specific and unique opportunity.

Unemployment is at an all time high. People are furloughed (some of my own family members included) and taking pay cuts (some of my own family members included), so I’ve felt really weird mentioning my work transition during a time when so many other people are on the hunt. Please know I’m sharing my own personal experience here in case you end up starting a new job remotely and my observations & tips can be helpful.

What it’s like to start a new job remotely during quarantine.

You’ll feel weird, awkward, uncomfortable, and guilty mentioning your exciting new opportunity to family and friends.

I want to be clear how insanely thankful I am for my new opportunity – and also how excited I am/should be/would be. But DAMN is it weird to be excited and happy when you know there are plenty of people out there – including family and friends – that just aren’t in the same boat.

KB and I made a point to raise a glass over dinner ourselves – but other than that I’ve mostly just felt weird bringing up my new role and any excitement over it to others for fear of being insensitive. It’s a complex feeling to explain. I’m excited – but I almost feel like I shouldn’t be? I think it’s called guilt. Weird, displaced, self-imposed guilt.

Don’t freak out about the technology – it alllll gets set up just fine.

I came up with hundreds of things to be anxious about when it came to onboarding remotely – and technology was a big one. How would I get my laptop? How will I log in? How the heck will I get everything set up?

The reality here turned out to be incredibly easy and simple. My company mailed me my laptop to my home and emailed set up instructions to my personal email. Boom – that’s it. Lol I feel silly to be honest for having technology worries.

HR forms will be submitted electronically – Docusign is your friend & remember to encrypt your files.

Filling out HR forms during quarantine is a little more complex than normal. Docusign makes signing agreements and contracts easy peasy – but typically on your first day your HR partner verifies your identity and citizenship with highly sensitive documents like a passport, social security card, birth certificate, etc.

Whatever you do, do not email unencrypted scans or photographs of your personal identification documents to anyone. Ever.

Encrypt your files, ask for a secure file transfer system, and just work with your HR partners to ensure your identity is safe as you give them the files you need.

You can still get to know your team!

More so than title, upward mobility, and even sometimes pay – I care the most about being part of an engaged team and actually contributing in a positive way. My career fulfillment comes from connection and making an impact.

I was so insanely concerned I wouldn’t have the same feeling remotely.

While obviously onboarding remotely isn’t the same from the people perspective – this is the area I was the most pleasantly surprised by. I had one on one video chats with every member of my new team and cross-functional partners. We have a greater team fun meeting once a week to stay in touch. While it’s not quite the same – there are absolutely ways to stay and feel connected to your new team while working remotely.

I am really looking forward to more face time once the office reopens, but I’m so pleasantly surprised I don’t feel like I’m on an island by myself while remote. I can’t speak for all remote experiences – but my new team is killin’ it making the experience great and making me feel connected.

Learn to be extra communicative.

As a new hire that isn’t physically visible while ramping up – it’s insanely important to be extra communicative with your team and manager. From daily touch bases to clear communication about questions you may have, embrace communicating.

My strategy: I’ve been working on my own little project management tracking sheet to share with my manager to easily communicate what I have on my plate to work on.

You will get up and running.

I’ve always loved change. I moved around a lot as a kid. New always meant a chance for a fresh start. There’s something really cleansing about new.

But we’re in the heat of a pandemic and I’m absolutely an anxiety prone human. Things are just weird and different right now. While I was excited and ready for change – I was definitely anxious about starting a new role remotely.

But we’re two weeks in – and it’s all going great. You will get up and running – I did. And it’ll all work out just fine.

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