Starting a new job is always difficult. There are so many unknowns and it can be tough to get used to a new way of operating. Beginning a new job during a global pandemic will make things even more challenging. Many companies have continued to do business during COVID-19, but have shifted to remote work, where possible. For employees that are just starting out, make sure that you ask the following questions to make your onboarding experience as “normal” as possible. 

How will the onboarding process be handled? 

Before your first day remotely on the job, make sure that you ask what you can expect the process to be like. For example, will you be given a video tour of the office? How will you be introduced to your team? This will give you the chance to voice any questions or concerns that you may have right off the bat. You can expect that the onboarding process will be different, but so long as you know what is coming, you can prepare yourself accordingly. 

Who should I reach out to, and how? 

Understanding expectations is key. There will be a learning curve for your new role, and you will undoubtedly need to adjust and course-correct along the way. Make sure you know who is the appropriate person to reach out to in various situations. Do you have one main point of contact, or should you be reaching out to different people at different times? After you know this piece of information, learn how your team communicates. The person that you touch base with every day might prefer a quick video chat, whereas any tech support questions may need to be submitted via email, for example. 

Can you please clarify? 

At the start of any new job, you should always feel comfortable asking questions. However, when it comes to remote onboarding, this will be even more important. As much as technology can help us stay connected, not being in person can result in some information falling through the cracks. If there is something that you do not understand, it is always better to clarify from the beginning, so you know that you are doing your job correctly. You should also feel comfortable asking for feedback along the way, as you might be less likely to get it than you would in person. 

Hi, how are you? 

Meeting your team and starting to build your social network is a critical part of onboarding. But when you are not bumping into someone at the water cooler, it can be hard to facilitate this. Try sending out personal messages to individuals on your team, asking if they have a few minutes to chat – ideally by video – so you can get to know one another. Hopefully, your manager will help facilitate this, but, if not, you should make it your priority to introduce yourself. This will make it easier for you to do your job effectively as you continue to work from home.  


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