Sticky solutions to your everyday business challenges
Question: I’m starting a new job where everybody is working remotely because of the coronavirus pandemic. The job I’m leaving is remote too, so I’m not worried about the work. I’m more concerned about the social and relationship-building aspect of changing jobs. How do I get to know co-workers and build new relationships while we are all working from home?
Answer: Being the new person on the team is awkward for most of us, WFH notwithstanding. The first few weeks are typically a swirl of learning new names, deciphering acronyms, and navigating unfamiliar processes, procedures, and technology platforms. When you layer in cameos from cats and kids during virtual meetings the awkwardness level can increase by a factor of 100.
The pandemic has given us all the perfect excuse to not just embrace the awkwardness, but to bond over it. Use the human moments as a launching point then get to know your new colleagues using some old-fashioned techniques.
Start with your current connections. Ask your new supervisor and team members to let you attend video meetings and calls outside your immediate work group so you can learn faces and names.
Tune your pitch. When you’re introduced to your new colleagues, be prepared to do more than unmute yourself to say, “Hi, Everyone!” and mute yourself again. Instead, have a one or two-sentence intro that includes skills or connections you have that might not be obvious from your job title.
Go lateral. There’s always someone in the office who knows the leverage points in any department, who can tell you the best people to contact — or avoid — when you need something done. Don’t wait for your manager to feed you everything you need to know to do your job well. Build your knowledge of who can help you move through the channels, and reach out to them to help you navigate how things get done more quickly.