As if moving across the country for a new job wasn’t enough, embarking on the year 2020 was going to be bringing more changes than I was expecting, for sure. Although I had the benefit of a few “analog” weeks of training and inter-working before the pandemic lockdown began, I still have spent a lot of time learning a new job from a distance.

Here are some tips that have helped me with the remote learning process.

Make the effort to talk instead of email when possible.

Laura Leigh Blair, Parthenon Management Group

Blog By Laura Leigh Blair
Volunteer & Project Manager

As an introvert, I find this one can be challenging. You don’t want to appear bothersome, but chances are, you won’t come across that way. Asking for a face-to-face video chat or a phone call will show initiative and help you get to know your boss and co-workers and, even better, give them the chance to get to know you. Collaborating is a huge part of learning a new job, and with the technology available today, there’s no reason that phase of training needs to be neglected. Set up weekly check-in times with your supervisor to ensure you’re on the right track and are clear on what is expected of you. Take a quick minute to video chat and introduce yourself to the people you’ll be working with often so when they see a chat or email come through, they’ll already be familiar with you.

Ask questions. A lot of them.

In office, you can lean back in your chair and ask a quick question. You can pop into someone’s office and get answers. It may take a little extra effort on your part to get your questions answered remotely, but it is important to take the time to ask them. As mentioned above, setting up a check-in time can be an efficient way to batch your questions and be respectful of others’ time. Keep a running list of questions to get answered all at once to keep your work moving forward. People are always happy to help if you let them.

Screen-sharing is way better than learning over someone’s shoulder.

Screen-sharing gives you a front row seat into how things are done. You can even screen record to re-watch when performing the same task in the future.

Company Culture.

My company, Parthenon Management Group (PMG), has helped maintain company culture by having all team members join in virtual weekly meetings with updates about the company. There have also been virtual coffee breaks and trivia games. Those small things can be a fun way to break the ice with your new co-workers and build those relationships, even if you’re like me and maybe aren’t the most help with certain trivia sections. PMG has also implemented an innovation hour that involves staff getting together to brainstorm inventive solutions and collaborate on how to better the company. When interviewing for a role moving forward, it’s important to ask your company how they’re handling training and company culture during a pandemic to make sure they’re prepared to get you through this difficult time. You can see open roles with PMG by clicking here.

Set yourself up for success.

A dedicated workspace can help to make a difference with setting clear boundaries between work and home. A comfortable chair and space to organize all your supplies can make you more efficient. This can also help add to your work-life balance to reduce burn out.  It is also helpful to test what background will be visible, and what light sources are available when deciding where to complete your set up. Make sure it’s a front-lit, tidy area with little background distractions for conference calls.

It is possible to enter a new workplace, new city, and other new experiences during a time of social distancing. The key is to stay focused, diligent, and to be patient with yourself and your new company. We’re all figuring this out together.

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