The thought of starting a job remotely can sound intimidating, challenging and strangely unfamiliar. The world has changed in ways we never thought possible in the last year and many companies have adapted to meet new obstacles that have come along with that.
A few weeks ago, I joined FutureGov as a Delivery Manager, during a pandemic and a national lockdown. By writing about my experience I hope to share how seamless the transition is and show there’s still a strong sense of community for the next round of FutureGovers joining the team.
Interviewing in a remote world
Job hunting and starting a new role during a pandemic was something I was uncertain about. The thought of a video interview was intimidating, I felt it could be difficult to form a good rapport with my interviewers and impossible to get any positive body language across.
Although, having now worked from home for almost a year I was used to the challenge of video calls and frequent comments of ‘you’re on mute’. And so it wasn’t as much of a daunting process as it would have been 12 months ago. I needn’t have worried, interviewing with FutureGov felt very relaxed and everyone was comfortable in the virtual process, putting me instantly at ease. After interviews with different members of the team, including a chat with our Delivery Director, I was offered the role.
Starting at FutureGov
I was working from home when I received a knock at the door a week before I started. Waiting for me was my new laptop and a goodie bag with stickers, a lanyard and (my favourite) a branded face covering which I put straight on and sent selfies to my friends. I was pleasantly surprised at being provided with my laptop so quickly, I had heard logistical nightmares from friends about starting new jobs with no kit at all during the pandemic.
My first day
Had I started 12 months ago, I would have stepped into FutureGov’s London Bridge studio for the first time, grabbed a coffee with the delivery team and wandered around saying hello to everyone. Instead, I made the short commute from my bed to my desk and logged into Google Meet, ready for my virtual onboarding sessions to start.
Already waiting in my calendar were scheduled project meetings and introductory calls with my new colleagues. Not being left to my own devices on day one was a pleasant experience and made me feel immediately comfortable in a new virtual environment.
I was also added to Slack, lovingly referred to as ‘the first office’. Having been a Slack user for years I went searching and immediately found channels for lunch and learns, communities of practice and places to discuss all sorts of hobbies. Amongst them was a channel dedicated to all things remote, with lovely life updates, helpful and interesting links from all members of the team. Whilst we can’t be physically together, I still felt a real sense of community on that first day.
My first week
My week followed a similar pattern, filled with coffee chats with colleagues. I was introduced to my “buddy”, someone from another team who acts as a friendly face and is always happy to chat. It was reassuring knowing there are people to talk to across the business and answer any questions that always come up in that first week at a new company.
I started working on some wonderfully impactful projects straight away, throwing myself into agile ceremonies; my bread and butter. A weekly full team meeting on Thursday shared updates on other projects from different members of the team, a chance for us to see what’s happening across the company. It was also where new starters had a chance to introduce themselves and we each shared an interesting fact about ourselves.
An unexpected highlight was a socially distanced walking meeting with Eva, my new manager (and neighbour). It was wonderful to meet a colleague after a week of virtual meetings and online sessions.
Advice for starting a new job in lockdown
Starting a new job during a national lockdown was something I never thought I'd experience. I’ve now been a FutureGov Delivery Manager for over a month, and throughout those weeks there are a few things I've found that have personally helped ease the transition in a remote world:
- be really eager, ‘slide in the DMs’ on Slack and introduce yourself, it’s a great way to make connections and people are always happy to talk
- take it slow, no one expects you to know everything on day one
- book in breaks, It’s easy to carry on working the entire day at home, but it does get tiring. A midday walk, coffee with a housemate or a home workout certainly makes me more productive