How To Start a Job Remotely During Coronavirus: Reflections of a New Employee

By Rachel Robinson

In this post, we say goodbye and good luck to our fabulous Social Media Coordinator, Rachel Robinson. Even as she takes on a new job, she’s still teeing up great content for us here at KDH Consulting. Read on about her experience starting her new role remotely. Hiring managers and companies take note: the experience you create with new remote hires can be an opportunity!

You may not know me personally, but you have read my blog posts, seen my Instagram photos, and had my newsletters hit your inbox over the last 2 years as I served as the social media manager for the KDH Consulting Team. I have always worked remote jobs because the digital space does not always require a physical meeting room. But what happens when the job is supposed to be in a physical space and you’re in the middle of a pandemic? Then what? Learn how I made sure to stay excited, not isolated, despite being completely remote.

Pivot has become the word of 2020, and recently I did exactly that as I transitioned into a new full-time job role in finance. But unlike most new hires, who show up to their first day often with a new outfit, new haircut, and a whole group of other new hires, this time, I was in my PJs and  my training took place on my kitchen counter. Navigating a completely new role, new team, and  new challenges while alone in my tiny city apartment has come with its challenges. But I have learned a few tricks to pivot into success through the world of remote onboarding, training, & working. 

Take Walks

This tip isn’t just for new hires–it’s good for every remote worker to keep in mind. Schedule yourself 10-15 minute breaks in your day to leave your workspace, head outside, & take a walk. This will not only reset your mind but moving your body will wake up your brain to keep you productive and help to avoid the midday slump.

Find a Mentor 

This is critical for new hires: you want to find a mentor quickly.  We do not have coworkers working next to us anymore to just ask a question in passing. So it’s important to identify someone you can turn to. Pick someone you trust to go to when you have questions or are unsure about processes in your new role.  If you haven’t been able to find someone, ask your hiring manager or supervisor to set you up. This “phone-a-friend” is your go-to for questions, concerns, and everything in between. My mentor and I slack all day long, and I would not have climbed the learning curve as fast as I have without his wisdom! 

Write it Down

Circling back to the reality that questions can no longer be asked on the fly, you will find yourself having to go out of your way to ask them.  When you do find answers, write them down so you never have to repeat it. This will save you time, effort, and stress in the long run. Not to mention earns the respect of the people you’re asking.  Personally, the sticky notes app on my computer is where I save all SOPs, random questions, phone numbers, and anything I feel I may need to reference again.

Make The Extra Effort

Working remotely means you will not meet your work best friend in the break room or find a group of coworkers to chat with at lunch, but it does not mean you should be isolated during the workday. If you are starting a new job with a group of new hires, go out of your way to get to know them. Make the extra effort on calls to ask how their day is going or ask about their pets or kids if they mentioned it in an icebreaker. Creating these relationships will create a connection in the workplace despite not physically being with one another, making the day a bit more enjoyable from the comfort of your own home. 

With anything, go in with confidence and enjoy this new opportunity! There are so many exciting benefits of working from home and with a few pointers along the way, you are guaranteed success!

Work and Home: the new Cauldron of Chaos: Three tips to help you and your employees survive

By Guest Blogger Rebecca Korsen

Life as we know it is constantly changing, and with COVID-19, these changes have become downright disruptive. In this new “normal,” many employees are confined to working at home, alongside other members of their household. And while remote work has been underway for almost 6 months, workers now have to juggle the back to school season. Whether school is virtual, hybrid or fully in person, parents are devoting more time to helping their kids navigate schoolwork. Just when employees may have felt like they were figuring out the pandemic lay of the land, restrictions change (either loosening or getting tighter) or they have to manage a confusing and stressful new set of challenges.  Bottom line: within months, life has reached new levels of chaos. 

Picture the impact for your employees (and you): the usual quiet spaces are full of background noise, making something as simple as a conference call a tall order. If Zoom calls had a stress meter for participants, there would be off-the-charts readings. So, what  can your employees do to bring some order to the chaos? Is there anything you can suggest to help strike a better (if not healthy) work-life balance during this pandemic? Check out 3 tips that might just help: 

 1: Take a true break

Encourage employees to take work breaks throughout the day.  Maybe it’s as easy as going for a short walk around the neighborhood, exercising, or simply getting a breath of fresh air. During this time, remind them to avoid answering work emails and just take time for themselves, no matter how short. If it’s a lunch break, remember the benefit of eating healthy.  It’s easy to load up on caffeine and processed snacks, but fruits and vegetables are a better option for long days sitting at a desk or juggling kids’ classes.  With a true break, employees will assuredly step back into their makeshift home office cool, calm and collected.

2: Cross the finish line

The workday must end at some point, so help employees cross the finish line.  Keep in mind that once the workday is finished, for some, it might be just beginning. Employees might move from work to the “second shift” if they have kids or parents to care for.  To address this, employers might consider instituting some policies around no meetings before 8AM, no meetings during lunch time, or no meetings after 5PM. There may need to be exceptions to these policies, especially if different time zones drive meeting times. But putting some limitations on how long the official workday lasts can ease the burden employees feel. And it may promote another good tip: getting at least 7-8 hours of restful sleep. Leaders can model the way by not sending off-hours messages, enabling employees to turn off their technology at least one hour before bed. By drawing the finish line, you’ll be helping your team wake up the next day ready to tackle the day’s challenges.

3: Preserve time with family and/or friends

These days, work hours blend into non-work hours—and finding or taking time to enjoy family or friends is more difficult.  Allotting dedicated time to family and/or friends is important to create some boundaries.  Encourage employees to plan weekend events, activities, or day trips. – Time away from work with those who matter most—even without traveling—can give employees much needed rest and relaxation. 

By offering these 3 tips, leaders will demonstrate that they recognize the chaos employees are facing—and they may just yield positive results for their teams. Life and work-life as we know it for employees and employers will become less stressful and much more pleasant. Employees will be happier, productive, and will be better equipped to manage work and stress during these chaotic times.  

If your company needs helping striking the right balance to keep employees engaged and productive, give us a call. We can help you send the right message (at the right time and format!) to let employees know you care about their well being as they strive to function in this chaotic work environment.