Starting a new job when you’re working from home

Changing jobs is a big deal at any time. But what’s it like to take on a new role when government advice is to work from home, and you can’t get to know your new colleagues in the traditional face-to-face way?

February 5, 2021

Turning over a new leaf

My new role as a content marketing manager at StarLeaf looked great, and I was excited about joining a company in 2020’s hottest technology category – video conferencing. But I hadn’t anticipated how different things would feel starting somewhere new while not physically working there.

A few months on, despite the government advice to work from home remaining unchanged, I feel like part of the team. Our own product, the StarLeaf messaging, meeting and calling platform, makes it easy for everyone in the business to work together, whether it’s for quick questions, team meetings, or campaign approvals. It’s much more straightforward than the smorgasbord of different tools I’d been using previously.

Personal perspectives

I was especially interested to find out how people’s roles influenced their perception of joining StarLeaf remotely. I asked Verity Powell, a Year in Industry intern in the Clients R&D team, and who joined StarLeaf in August, how she’d found the experience. Verity mentioned how it could be tricky to pick up the basic norms of a job without the ability to absorb subliminal signals like we do when we sit with our team-mates. But she also mentioned how her colleagues were using chat and informal conversations to build relationships in lieu of face-to-face contact, helping her to settle in and feel like one of the gang.

Team dynamics

For another view, I chatted with Jason Lawson, who joined around the same time as me, and who’s consulting with StarLeaf on a change management project. Jason shared my view that understanding team dynamics and informal hierarchies felt different when there’s less opportunity to see colleagues interact. But he also mentioned making conscious efforts to nurture informal relationships to understand ‘what’s beneath the surface’ of the business in order to drive positive change. Jason also uses messaging as a substitute for those informal but valuable conversations that take place before and after meetings, or around the coffee machine.

Hanging together

Chatting with Verity and Jason made me realise that our need for strong human relationships, and a sense of connectedness, was the underlying theme in all our experiences. We all agreed that StarLeaf was doing a good job of making us newbies feel welcome in unique and unpredictable circumstances. And there’s no doubt that our StarLeaf collaboration platform, which is purposely designed to create the human connection at work, is a big help in narrowing the gap between working at home and working in the office. In fact, the way everyone at StarLeaf collaborates via chats, video calls and meetings, like it’s the most natural thing in the world, means I’ve got know more people, more quickly and easily, than if I’d been in the office.

Try StarLeaf now

Andy Bird, Content Marketing Manager