Starting your first job can be an intimidating experience. You are suddenly thrust into a world of adulting where everyone is responsible (you hope), most people are polite (as expected), and you are given direction and guidance (maybe). Well, for most people, they figure out that the real world of work is not as scary as they thought. You learn to adapt to co-worker attitudes, understand what the expectations are, and maneuver through the daily routine of working in an office.
But what if your first job is completely remote? Should your expectations be different? How will you learn the ropes? Who will demonstrate the corporate culture and the rules of behavior? When you begin a new job, whether in an office or remote, there is a lot of uncertainty and you will have many questions. However, it does not have to be scary and understand that you will figure it out. I did it and so can you.
After my masters, my first job was completely remote—and in a timezone halfway across the world. I had submitted an application and resume online, interviewed via video conferencing and received all of my onboarding material via email. My first thought was, “do they really know me and what I am capable of without meeting me in person?” I quickly learned that there is a process for working remotely that is slightly different for in-house employees but that it is tailored specifically to meet the needs of remote employees.
Remember that an employer has hired you because of what you can bring to the table whether you are in the office or working remotely. They want you for the skills that you possess and the experiences that you have had, although limited if this is your first job. They will capitalize on your hunger and desire to be successful. That being said, they will do what is necessary to ensure that you have the tools, resources, and knowledge that you need to get the job done.
In an article in Forbes.com, CEO Chris Byers shares his take on the tips to help a new employee successfully transition into a remote job position. From documentation to training to meeting the team, the success of a remote employee is in the hands of the employer and the onboarding process.
Similar to what you would expect if you were in an office, day one at a new job, especially a first job, can be stressful and nerve-wracking. But if the employer has a well-defined onboarding process, your transition should be smooth and comfortable.
What to expect at a new remote job
- Connections. While you may be working remotely, you still will be required to work with other people who either work remotely or in the office. The employer should arrange for a meet and greet through a video conference system or even phone call to introduce you to all of the key players and the roles that they play. By meeting others, you can also alleviate some of those first-day jitters and create some connections that could help you through the process and in your job performance. Employees who feel connected to others are more likely to excel in their job performance and experience higher job satisfaction.
- Expectations. Unlike in an office where you can watch how others interact, understand the expectations and learn accepted behaviors, remote employees do not have the luxury of witnessing the corporate culture in action. It is the responsibility of hiring managers to share expectations with new employees. For example, what are the hours that an employee is expected to work? Due to the nature of remote work, many remote employees tend to work longer hours, feeling the need to prove that they are being as productive. Especially if this is your first job, you may not be aware of what is expected in a remote work environment.
- Training. Although you landed the job and may understand what it is you are supposed to do, for you to be successful, you will need training in the specific procedures and processes of the company. What software applications do you need and have you used them previously? How do you obtain information that is required for you to do your job? As a remote employee, it is not as simple as walking down the hall or shouting over the cubicle wall to gain insight as to how to solve a problem. A hiring manager must empower a new employee with all of the resources, tools, and applications necessary for a new hire to not only perform the required job functions but to succeed and excel in the role.
If you do not feel that you have received everything that you need to perform your job successfully, be sure to speak up and get the guidance and information to get you on your way. Whether it is your first job or your first remote job, be sure to set yourself up for success and job satisfaction.
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