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Starting a Job Remotely Shouldn’t Slow Down Your Onboarding or Success

More and more people have been working from home since the onset of the pandemic. While there are tons of resources on getting started working remotely, how to succeed in an office job without an office, and how to set up your new space at home, what about starting a new job altogether? How can you succeed with a brand new job without the resources of being in an office? 

Starting a new job is always hard, but imagine starting in a pandemic?

At Duo, we’ve been lucky to add amazing humans to our team since March when we began working from home. We knew we needed to bring our Kinder Than Necessary value to the center to help our newest team members succeed in this environment. And those folks have been succeeding!

And, our team keeps growing. Our team has grown by 21% since March. So we have some insight to share from the dozens of people who have only ever had their job at Duo remotely. 

Remote Work Goal Setting

Starting a new job is always going to be awkward because you don’t know what to do. One of your very first priorities, remote or not, should be to set a role-based goal. A role-based goal takes something you’ll be expected to do in your daily role and adds a due date for when you’ll be able to do it alone. It’s especially important when remote, as it will give you focus, direction, and priority as you learn about your new company. 

There is absolutely always a lot to learn. But don’t assume that your company will give you something specific to work toward. Nearly 60% of companies fail to set milestones or goals for their new employees. On top of that, 22% of employers don’t have a formalized onboarding plan. Folks can take control of those stats by setting a specific goal themselves.

While I work diligently to support new Duonauts with role-based goals from the start, I actually didn’t have one when I started. If you end up in this spot, I have some advice for you. Here is what I did — I spent the first 3 weeks really learning what I was supposed to do. Fundamentally, I’m a teach for Duo, so I had to learn all the things about Duo, then teach a full cycle on it. That was a lot. So I estimated what the most basic version of that was. For me, that was teaching a specific session within the full teaching cycle. I decided to do it by my 90 day mark. Then, I found someone who was already teaching to help guide me. Then, I told my manager. I told my team. And then I wrote it down.

Write down your goal. We know that folks who write down their goals are 33% more successful. Even if you are part of the few who get both a formalized onboarding plan and role-based goals (like new Duonauts), we still encourage you to write your own goal down. Vet your goal with an in-company mentor or new coworker, and then get working on it! Success in your role will help give you purpose and fulfillment while working remotely.

Making Friends While Working Remote 

We know that people with friends at work are happier, but how do you make friends when you won’t be really “meeting” anyone? Once you figure out how your company communicates, show up. It might feel weird, but just show up - yes, virtually. Comment in threads. Video-on in meetings. Attend optional events. Use your newness to your advantage and ask for a get to know you chat. And let’s level set - it’s not weird.

First, studies show - people like you more than you think they do. You are probably underestimating how much people want to talk to you. But what’s really important is the mere exposure effect. For the most part, folks like people more the more that they’re around. Since your face won’t be at the water cooler or coffee pot, show up online.

At Duo, we use chat and WebEx. Ways to show up there include engaging in online chat conversations, joining optional channels, emoji-respond to comments. Many companies (including ours!) have used apps like Donut to encourage cross-team conversations. Take advantage of what your new company has to offer. And, keep your videos on during calls as often as possible. Creating friendships in this way will help you feel more connected to your company and new role.

Creating Long Term Success While Working Remote 

But you can’t show up all the time. New employees tend to want to do their absolute best. In an office-based world, the boundaries for “doing your best” were a little clearer. At some point, you had to go home. But now? It’s not quite as clear when the day starts and when the day ends. And for new hires looking to really stand out and shine, the lure to just do one more thing can quickly become working longer and longer days than you should.

And that lure can be even stronger for folks who have found jobs and careers that they love. But the risk is higher too. The thing is, people in purpose-driven work are more likely to experience burnout. A Canadian study found that employees driven by purpose are significantly more stressed and score lower in well-being. And, to top it all off, remote workers tend to experience higher rates of burnout too. It’s not all bad news though - since we’re at the very beginning of our time with an organization, we’ll be able to start this new role off with some healthy boundaries.

If you’re starting a whole new job remote, it’s okay to you should have a candid conversation with your manager about what working remote means for the organization and for your role in particular. Be prepared to acknowledge what you might need to change, or to ask for more time to think about how you can succeed. Ask your manager explicitly what you can do to stand out, make an impact, or achieve your goals more quickly - chances are they won’t say “work 14 hour days.” 

Our team members have had the most success by having general boundaries for their first 3 weeks while they learn about the company (e.g. start time, break times, email response times), and then reaffirming and solidifying their long-term boundaries at around the 1 month mark. At this point, they know more about the company and the role, and can make an informed decision about how they can engage longer term.

Adapting to Remote Work & Growing Your Career

You can still think long-term, make friends, and be successful in your new role - even though you’ll be starting remotely. Chances are that either your company has had a long-term plan for remote work (awesome!) or, they’re learning about this remote-only world right alongside you. 

The struggle of starting from scratch, learning new systems, and imposter syndrome are likely to creep in. Just remember that those growing pains would happen in-person too. And most importantly for starting a new gig - remote or in-person - remember that they chose you! Remember that your team, manager, and company are invested in you succeeding! 

Looking for a team that’s invested in you? Duo is hiring