News Article

CAREER TIPS-Onboarding Remotely

Posted 3rd September 2020 • Written by Adapted from an article on •

You sent your CV off while Working From Home (WFH).

You had the first and second interviews while WFH.

Unusual, but you’re getting used to it.

Then you got the job offer and start date and now it’s your first day, but you’ll also be WFH.

Having your first day in a new job at home, not seeing the new office, not sitting at a new desk and not meeting your new manager and colleagues in person – doing it all from home, now that’s not something you ever expected to happen.

But this is The New Normal.

Here’s how to Start Your New Job Remotely During Coronavirus.

Prepare for a Different Type of Onboarding

It’s definitely going to be different from any first day onboarding you’ve ever had, but it might also be different from what you’ve heard other companies do.

Each employer will have their own method.

Some will send you a laptop and equipment through the post.

Some will do it on Zoom, others on Skype, Teams, etc.

One of our clients is even onboarding people at the home of the team manager!

Try and find out from the company, or recruitment agency, beforehand what the first day might involve, so you can at least be a little bit ready.

Understand Your Manager’s Expectations

In any new job you will want to know what your manager/company wants from you, your responsibilities, how & how often you report to them, etc.

It’s the same in a new job when WFH, but you’re no longer able to lean across a desk and ask a question and get the answer immediately.

So find out about what you need to do, what systems and software you need to use; do you need an online training course to learn how to use it, that previously you would have done on site, sitting next to someone.

And while everyone, your boss included, is getting used to working with a new person remotely, you might feel you’re being checked up on, that your boss is monitoring you more than you might like or be used to, but don’t be offended, they are getting used to it too, and are also probably just wanting to make you feel connected and part of the team.

Learn How Your Team Communicates

While you, your manager, and your colleagues are all working remotely—perhaps for the first time—it’s especially important to find out how everyone prefers to communicate, so you know whether to monitor your email, Slack, or another channel your team relies on. (Keep in mind that your colleagues might still be figuring out their preferences as they adjust to new routines.)

If your colleagues are inundated with email, ask if they’d prefer a call or instant message or email for quick questions. Sending an email takes time to respond to because people have to see it , read it and remember to respond, it’s often easier and quicker to pick up the phone and ask, but make sure your colleagues are happy with that way of working.

It’s especially important to learn how to communicate with your boss. Do they prefer email or a phone call? Are they happy to speak to you whenever you have a question, or only at certain times of the day/week? Are they happy for you to contact them, or only for them to contact you?

Find out what the team is used to and comfortable with and what works best for them, then you’ll fit in quicker and more easily and not upset any tried and trusted processes.

Get Your Tone Right

Until you know people and their personalities better, and know how they like to be spoken to and what they like to talk about, keep the tone of your emails and other communications neutral.

Be careful about using too many abbreviations, jargon, slang, and emoji. Some people might not understand it, or like it, or think it’s professional.

In your first days and weeks, pay attention to how your manager and teammates talk to one another and use that as a guide.

Don’t be Afraid to Ask.

This applies in any new job.

You’re learning how to do the job and how the team works, but in an office, face to face, if someone asks you to do something it’s easier to ask a question.

If you receive new instructions remotely, don’t be afraid to reply to the message and ask if you can set up a call/ video chat to discuss it.

It will help you with the job, but also allow you to spend time with, and get to know your colleagues

Get to Know Your Colleagues

It will be very useful before you start, or at least on your first day, to ask your manager or HR for an organisational chart of the department, so you know who does what and who reports to who.

You might also want to find a colleague you trust and can confide in or bounce ideas off.

As you don’t know anyone yet, think back to the people you met during your interview process and contact them.

Or if, on a video/conference call you find someone who is especially chatty and friendly try and connect with them.

And it doesn’t all need to be about work.

You might want someone to just chat with about TV, films, sport, the weekend, the kids, etc.

You could tell everyone at the start that you would be happy to have phone calls or video meetings to get to know your colleagues better. Reach out to those you’ll be working with to introduce yourself and set up a chat.

If you find a particular colleague you click with during a meeting, you could invite them to a one-on-one virtual coffee chat.

You could start it by complimenting them on their comments in the meeting and the way they work, and then expand the conversation by asking them about themselves to build a rapport and find things you have in common


These are strange times, and starting a new job on your own, at home, is even stranger.

But prepare beforehand, make contact with people once you start, be flexible and patient and you’ll make the transition more easily.

Click to see more Career tips from People First Recruitment to help in your career and your search for a Mandarin speaking job, a Japanese job, a Language job or a job in Supply Chain, Procurement or Demand Planning in London & the UK