By Drew Norman
(Reading time - 2:45)
So you got a new job and it’s all remote; any communication is virtual via emails, messaging, and video calls from new coworkers who have never met you and now have to put up with your incompetence as you learn the ropes of the daily workflow. If you want to survive your initial days out in the wild, wild west of a new remote job, here are a few things to keep in mind:
Step One - Listen Carefully
There is a lot to pick up on when you are first getting started, and communicating effectively online isn’t always easy. So keep an open ear and an open mind. Listen carefully to what everyone says in group messaging and virtual meetings, because you need to get a grasp on how everyone prefers to communicate. Hopefully you’ve done some research and can match faces with usernames on Slack; because from there, it’s only a matter of understanding their usage of emojis and gifs.
Step Two - Ask Questions
You'll inevitably slip up and miss something from step one, so ask questions. And once you’ve done that, be ready to ask again. Your coworkers will understand, because they won’t stop asking you questions either. Everyone just wants to make sure everyone else is on the same page, and that requires a bit of redundancy. With everything virtual, communication is not seamless, so maybe you didn’t slip up on step one. But still, ask questions. Even if you’re just making sure.
Step Three - Laugh Anyway
You weren’t in that virtual meeting. You didn’t hear that virtual joke. But it’s okay. You can still laugh. Actually, if you don’t, it might inspire someone to try to re-tell it. And everyone knows secondhand virtual jokes are extremely difficult to pull off. For you and your coworkers’ sake, definitely laugh along. It’s good for your body anyway.
Step Four - Screenshot Liberally
Most of the time, it’s a lot easier to show than tell. Instead of typing up something exhaustive, take a few screenshots and add some notes to give context. Even with online meetings, screenshots are essential. You don’t notice the weird faces you make when you talk until you witness it frame-by-frame due to a slow connection. Best stay ahead of the curve and get them before they get you. You never know when it might come in handy.
Step Five - Be Patient
All things come to those who wait. And like your flash drive, after many tries, you will come to fit in quite nicely. Keep doing the previous four steps and hang on tight; you won’t be the new guy for too much longer. Unless you earn a goofy nickname and it sticks. In that case, you’ll still be the new guy for a while, but at least you know you are officially part of the team.