The Classes of 2020 and 2021 will forever go down in history as the Classes of COVID-19 – from Zoom graduations and spring break cancellations, to a tough job market with (if you’re lucky enough to get a job) remote onboarding.
Starting a new job can be overwhelming, nerve-wracking, and yes very, very exciting! Especially if it’s your first “real world” job (with a title other than intern), it is just as much of a big deal as it feels. Here are Team Realworld’s 5 tips for beginning your first job while working from home:
- Find a quiet workspace (that isn’t your bed): First, this is important because your job will likely include video calls with coworkers, your manager, or other outside parties and though you may be in your childhood bedroom, keeping an air of professionalism is key. It’s also psychologically important to separate work from non-working hours, and having a spatial change can help with that – time spent in bed is for sleeping, time spent at the desk (or at the kitchen table) is for working. That being said, we’re all in this together, and background noise happens – we can all laugh and apologize for a barking dog, lawn mower, vacuum, or whatever may be happening in the house during the work day.
- Dress the part: Though we’re all dressing down and giving business casual a new meaning, putting on a fresh outfit can give you a fresh perspective. And while your top half is more visible, ask yourself this, “If I have to get up to plug in my computer while on a video call, will I be embarrassed?” We promise weekends feel even more exciting when you have an entirely separate wardrobe to choose from!
- Ask questions and take notes (and write them down!): It’s harder to ask a quick question when you’re not sitting next to your manager, so it’s extra important to pay attention and take impeccable notes during training sessions. We recommend an actual pen with real, non-digital paper (old school is gold school in our book). Even if you think your questions are silly, just ask because you’ll never know if you don’t! That even goes for things like the best way to reach your manager, what to wear on Zoom calls with clients or external groups, the right font to use in a deck, or the desired format for project delivery. These are the little things that can make your manager’s life SO much easier (and make them see your value).
- Don’t be afraid to speak up if your plate is empty: In a “normal” office environment, your team would be able to tell if you needed new tasks for your to-do list. So, while there’s plenty you can do on the computer, don’t hesitate to send a note asking if there’s anything you can do to help! Even if the answer is no, your team might have no idea that you’re twiddling your thumbs on the other end of the screen. A big part of the working world is communication, so tell them what you’re working on (or that you need new projects).
- Learn the systems: If you don’t have a ton going on, spend the time going deep on the tools your company uses everyday. There are TONS of resources (YouTube videos, blogs, etc) about platforms like Slack, Outlook, Teams, Excel, Salesforce, and more, so take the ramp up time to become an expert (you might even teach your team something new!). It’s a great way to show passion, personal investment, and the ability to learn and work independently, plus chances are you’ll use these systems throughout your career!
Good luck, we’re rooting for you (from home)! For more information and help with your first day paperwork, download the free Realworld iOS App.