Here are a few strategies to help you settle in while working remotely

Starting something new can be daunting in the best of times and doing it in a pandemic makes it even more complicated. We are passing through novel times that have caused disruptions in our workplaces and professional lives like one could never have imagined.

If you are starting off in a new organization without daily personal interaction with colleagues, managers and leaders to help you settle in, it is almost like entering a jungle blindfolded, having to survive without knowing the law of the land.

The term “settle in” means becoming familiar with a new situation or way of living, and it also implies to make yourself comfortable in a place because you are going to stay there for a long time.

So how does one settle in and become comfortable when you’re actually all alone sitting in your home office, trying to build human connections while staring into a non-human machine. Words like “new normal” have been overused but this situation is truly a new one for professionals across the globe. Men and women alike have been faced with the challenging task of climbing the corporate ladder, breaking glass ceilings and building relationships all while sitting isolated in front of a screen. 

As disconcerting as it sounds, all is not lost. The good part is the fact that the world at large- all professionals across all industries are facing the same dilemma, so let’s take solace in the fact that you are not alone.

If you are finding it hard to settle in into a new workplace while trying to manage the pressures of the job without knowing the company and its people’s culture, use these strategies to help you feel more in control and thrive:

  • Take Initiative

Being the newbie at a workplace, almost feels like being the new kid in a classroom. But that’s the difference here, you are no more the kid in the classroom, you have developed and learned various skills and coping mechanisms in your journey of life and this is the time to use them. Take the initiative to reach out to your team members, get to know them. You need to take the time to gauge and understand how the company runs and what the culture is. Getting to know your colleagues will take more effort when you can’t run into them around the office.  As you build relations, ask your team members who else in the organisation you should connect with. Internal networking is part of doing your job well and also building your career so be sure to take initiate often and regularly.

  • Don’t be in a rush

Bear in mind that we are all yet learning how to work in a virtual environment, so please be patient with yourself and your team members. Rushing into it may not help you truly understanding the new environment and people. Most individuals are usually in a haste to get over the hard parts but that’s exactly what we need to remind ourselves. Take your time to know your colleagues. Building rapport and trust takes a bit of effort and time. You will also be learning new skills for thriving in the digital/virtual world, so go easy and slow.

  • Set communication standards

Learning how to communicate with your team , manager and leaders digitally while working remotely can get tricky. So the best thing to do is to reach out to everyone in your inner circle and ask them what the best mode of communication with them should be. It’s ok to ask what mode of communication they would prefer- emails, messages or calls. Share your preferences as well so they can get to know you as well. If you are a manager or leader, this step becomes extremely important for a successful team. Communication is key for the growth and success of any organisation so give it enough weightage.  Schedule regular check-ins and catch-ups with all team members. Set aside 30-60 minutes weekly if not more for getting to know your people.

  • Be visible

Doing good work is critical to being successful but the great work needs to be known to the key members of your organisation. Hence, it’s important to make yourself known and visible especially since you are working remotely. While physically working in an office, it’s easy to see who is burning the midnight oil, who is closing deals and who’s working hard. Doing it remotely can get challenging, hence it is even more important to take steps to ensure your visibility when you are working virtually. Being proactive is key. Seek out opportunities with your managers and leaders will help show your keenness at the workplace as well. If you have some spare time, learn a new skill by checking online courses or even by observing challenges faced by your organisation and making that a starting point to learning how to overcome them.

  • Go easy on yourself

Cut yourself some slack please. You are entering an entirely new environment, a new ecosystem so if you’re taking time to build rapport and settle in, it’s absolutely fine. Take a few weeks to just ask questions and get an idea of your surroundings. There is no defined timeline on how long it should take for someone to settle into a new role especially while working remotely, so just go with your gut and allow yourself to take the time you need.

We are passing through highly unprecedented times where everyone is trying to cope and manage while being as normal as can. That does not mean that it’s ok to slacken but it does mean that it’s to take your time and give yourself permission to go easy without being too hard on yourself. Remote working is here to stay for a while so best to get your training wheels on and learns the ropes of not only surviving but thriving while working from home.