Coronavirus: What is it to start a new job when you’re working remotely?

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The media legendNicole Rouwenhorst on getting to know his colleagues online

Meeting your new team and be shown round the office is one of the greatest parts of starting a new job. But how will he feel when everyone works from home?

Mid-way through my video call with Nicole Rouwenhorst for this article, something annoying happens.

“Hum, I am afraid that the door bell,” I say apologetically. “Can you stay on the call two-minute video? Someone came to retrieve my daughter’s scooter.”

Nicole laughs, because this is exactly the point she was trying to do before we were rudely interrupted.

The 23-year-old has joined a marketing company in Manchester Social, just as the lock started. She had to learn to deal with her 40 new colleagues purely online.

She had anxiety about personal relationships in this way. But it is well, ” she says, precisely because of little incidents like my scooter tour.

“In some respects, the video calls are even better than the face-to-face in the office,” said Nicole. It may be easier to get to know the people in their natural setting, the house environment, she believes.

She enjoyed random inside interruptions by pugs, tabby cats and toddlers.

“You’ll see, ‘Oh, they have just got an Asos package, I like Asos too.’ It just sparks conversation.”

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Nicole Rousenhorst

Legend of the Image

Nicole loves to share her love of plants and a wall screen as a backdrop for video calls


Nicole concerned about the psychological effects of isolation, because she lives in a one-bedroom flat on his own.

The fun social activities with colleagues have kept up his spirits, she said.

Using Facebook online platform called the place of Work, his team have to play games with names like #showusyourstation and #guessthelocation.

In the latter, the colleagues show that a part of the image on the screen in their home, such as a holiday photo, and then everyone has to guess where it is.

This is another good ice-breaker, ” says Nicole.

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Annelies

Legend of the Image

Annelies Harte is a leisure club manager at Audley Nightingale Place retirement village


It was the online treasure hunt that really made Annelies Harte, 49, to feel that she belonged.

It is a leisure club manager for a retirement village which has just opened in south London. The residents moved into their properties in May.

It is one of a new team of 22 people. They had to meet, bond and get it all ready at a distance, because of the isolation.

She and her colleagues got into teams for the treasure hunt, remembers Annelies. There was a PowerPoint presentation containing puzzles, which gave clues to the obscure, the objects of the house, which you then had to find: things like garlic crushers, shoe horns and egg cups.

This online game has been a great bonding exercise because it is interactive and revealed the personality of each, particularly the competitiveness of their instinct, ” says Annelies.

The indices also have become major points of discussion. Younger colleagues, for example, have been confused when asked to find a CD in their home.

“”What are you talking about?” they said,” remembers Annelies, laughing.

The treasure hunt of the year was part of an induction programme which included a welcome from the chief executive officer, an overview of company policy and a guide to health and safety.

“Initially, everybody looks at the screen and looking up and down, you feel that the distance – but then, you realize that you are all in the same boat,” says Annelies.

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The media legendWorking Distance: Seven tips for successful video meetings

She warns that at first, stronger people will dominate, because the video calls software gives priority to their voice. This is a reason for which she was grateful, they have also moved online meeting rooms for small group sessions.

But all in all, she feels that her virtual induction went well. “I really bonded with people in a more intense way than I would have normally done,” she said.

Although Nicole and Annelies have both had positive experiences of joining a company at a distance, others may struggle.

Rosie Evans is a behavioral scientist with the CoachHub of council. She has advised companies on the subject of “the integration” brings a new beginning in the team during the lockout period.

“It can feel very disorientating and daunting for many people, especially if you don’t have the kind of personality that means that you are happy to arrange meetings with your new colleagues,” she said.

Normally, it remains for you to new recruits to launch social links in the team, ” she adds. But in these difficult times, it is important for employers to provide more structure and support.

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Henry Moffett

Legend of the Image

Henry Moffett of the first team meeting was a little awkward


When Henry Moffett, 34 years old, made his first appearance in front of new colleagues on the Microsoft Teams call about a marketing field, he was struck by the “silence palpable”. It was felt that it was a bad start.

He had been with his previous company for seven years, so it was a great transition for him.

It is only later that his colleagues explained to him what had happened. They had thought that he was a new customer, so they were nervous.

Henry works for HeyHuman, a marketing consultant who uses neuroscience technology to test the potential of advertising campaigns.

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HeyHuman

Legend of the Image

HeyHuman uses EEG equipment to test the response of the brain to stimulation


He started his new job on April 6. His company had sent him a laptop and all the kit he needed to work at a distance, so that he could get up and running immediately.

After his false start on the embarrassing video call, it makes a series of one-on-one calls with colleagues, before a general introduction to the whole team.

“It was surreal, waving gormlessly to 50 persons, and the sofa in my apartment, ” he remembers.

More Technology of Business

For a company using technology to analyze human behavior, it is a chance to turn the control back on themselves.

And Henry can see the disadvantages of a life of work defined by the video calls.

“When you can’t fall back on the nuances [you pick up] in the meetings, it can be difficult to judge how things are going, ” he said. “Silence during the traditional meetings are not unusual, but on virtual meetings, it feels like they need to fill.”

To see your face constantly relayed back at you on your computer while you talk is also stressful, he thought.

“It is very tiring because you are so hyper-aware of how you present yourself.”

But like the others, he feels that he has managed to integrate into his new team with success. It is all simply learned how to adapt his behavior.

It takes “mental breaks” during the work, by turning off the video camera for more informal calls.

And of course, he makes sure that he is always introduced properly at the beginning of the meetings.

You can follow profession of journalist Dougal on Twitter: @dougalshawbbc



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