The following is a guest post from Stew @ The Balance Hub
It’s your first day of a new remote job.
The usual first day nerves are there of course, but this time it’s a little different; you’re not going to be meeting any of your colleagues face-to-face for a start.
Working remotely raises a whole different set of challenges as you try to navigate your way through the intricacies of your new job.
Picking up on the nuances of the workplace is a tough call while you’re sitting alone, at a desk in your home office.
There’s no whispering across to the neighbor sitting next to you for some quick guidance, and the usual in-office signals are not there to be read.
However, that doesn’t mean to say you can’t hit the ground running from the first day.
These following steps will help you slip into the groove quickly and painlessly, so that you can really begin to enjoy that new remote position.
A Dedicated Workspace
Hopefully you will have sorted this already.
Having a dedicated work space is a vital ingredient towards successful productivity.
This can be something as simple as the dining room table, as long as it is an area free of distraction and gives you the feeling of being in work mode.
Depending on the role you will want to ensure that all the equipment you need is primed and ready to be used.
Any remote office supplies required should be in place, and if there are any apps to download or sites to register for, these need to be taken care of before you login that very first morning.
Another useful tip is to get dressed as if you were attending a real office for the day. This will help you slip into a professional mind set for the hours that follow.
Review Any Work Materials
Another step to complete before you start is to make your way through whatever company materials have been made available.
Your employer will likely have provided some kind of ‘welcome pack’.
This should contain initial employee orientation, including a handbook, company rules and other important issues your boss will want you to be aware of before starting.
Being au fait with all of this will help relieve any first day anxieties. You will feel prepared.
That being said, it is important not to take everything you read at face value.
Company handbooks can be quite general, outdated or may not align with your situation as a remote worker.
If this is the case, do not be afraid to raise any queries you may have with your manager. In fact, they will probably thank you for it.
Training materials can be an area that a company overlooks and they might not be aware of any problems or potential confusion.
And if you find yourself starting at a company where no formal induction process has been designed or provided, keep a list of questions for your initial one-to-one with your manager; raising any questions or concerns from the outset is definitely the best approach.
Finally; attempt to get your head around the company vision. What sort of values, goals and plans for the future does the business project?
Understanding where the company is headed and how you and your role fits into that plan, will help you feel at home from the start.
A 1:1 with Your Manager
Ideally, your manager will have organized a time on your first day for you both to have a one-to-one.
This should help you understand your schedule and expectations for that first week.
It is important that you leave that meeting with a clear idea of what your day-to-day tasks are, and an overall expectation of what is expected of you.
The nature of a remote position means your boss (or any other colleague for that matter) will not be there to help micro-manage you through those first few days.
However, as long as you understand their expectations regarding communication, task management, and productivity, you should feel confident to get on with the job under the limited amount of supervision that comes with working remotely.
Join Weekly Meetings
While the responsibility of adding you to relevant meetings should fall upon your manager or team leader, it doesn’t hurt to be proactive and enquire as to when they are and which ones you should be a part of.
When you join those meetings you can use it as an opportunity to say hello and meet fellow team members in real-time.
It might be that you will be given center stage for a short period to introduce yourself.
If you are naturally introverted, try not to worry. Everyone is on your side, and they are miles away so no one can bite.
Smile, wave, say hello and talk about how happy you are to be part of the team.
If any questions are fired your way, try to enjoy your brief moment in the spotlight talking informally with your new colleagues.
These guys will inevitably become your friends.
Don’t be Shy in Coming Forward
Following on from joining any relevant weekly meetings, behind the scenes you should begin networking with your colleagues.
In a lot of situations this will be made easier as some teammates will reach out to you to say hello.
When you reply you might want to see if it’s possible to set up a quick 15-minute meeting to introduce yourself.
Don’t mind any teammates that don’t get in touch; people are busy. You should still take the time to reach out to all your colleagues individually to say hello.
And don’t forget to seek out any other employees that work remotely. They are a valuable insight into the nature of the company from a remote perspective.
Figure out who they are on your first day and make efforts to contact them via video calls or instant messaging.
Keep it light and ask for any first-day tips; they have been in exactly the same position as you and will very often be a friendly point of contact and support.
Pick up on the Technical Cues
From your very first day you should start tuning yourself to the range of technical cues on offer.
Communication in the remote world is built upon video calls, instant messages, emojis and the old stalwart, emails.
Paying attention to the formalities that individuals adopt, will help you set the tone as to how to communicate with them.
How quickly do your teammates respond to messages? What is their preferred mode of communication, (do they knock off a quick reply using an instant messaging app, or is email their thing?), how do they sign off on things?
Be sensitive to the patterns you identify as generally accepted, while at the same time keeping true to yourself as an individual personality.
By adopting the language of the company and embracing the subtleties, you will find yourself falling into the groove of how it all works before you know it.
Remember to Thank Those That Help You
Showing appreciation for those that have helped you on your first day, is a great way of starting your work relationships on a good footing.
You will inevitably have questions on your second, third day and so on. A little gratitude will certainly go a long way.
Go Easy on Yourself
And remember, everyone has to start somewhere.
As you down tools and reflect upon your first day as a remote worker at a new company, be positive about the outcomes.
As your skills and knowledge increase you will be able to take the role in your stride, and really start to enjoy the work life balance that being a remote worker provides.
This is the start of something wonderful.
Give yourself a pat on the back, (and crack open a beer or pour a glass of wine); you deserve it.
About the Author: Stew Bacon is the Founder of The Balance Hub, a work from home blog for dads that want to quit the rat race and spend more quality time with their family.