Starting a New Career During Lockdown

Jack, 
Digital Innovation Account Executive, 

Starting a new career after graduating from Bournemouth University is a massive step in any young professional’s career, but paired with a global pandemic? That’s a step up not one graduate was ready for.

In February 2020 I was fortunate enough to have been offered a place on Push’s graduate scheme as an Account Executive. Having had aspirations of working in the digital space, this was the perfect opportunity for me to develop my expertise in digital marketing. However, little did anyone know that a couple of months down the road the world would be struck with an unprecedented pandemic (I’ll try my best not to use the ‘C’ word!).

 

With reports suggesting that just “18% of graduates are securing jobs this year compared to the typical 60%” and in a time where so many of my peers had lost their future jobs due to the pandemic, it wouldn’t be right not to pay homage to Push for their clarity and honesty surrounding my employment. Embodying one of the company’s main values, the team was open with me and gave complete reassurance that I would have a job awaiting me come September; something I am so grateful for!

So… when joining a new company during the lockdown, what’s it like to integrate with your new team virtually? How do you create a working environment that maximises your potential? Is it difficult to build a good rapport with clients? If those are the questions you need answers to, this is the blog for you.

 

Integration into a new business

Integrating into a business has never been harder but we as new employees have to help employers remove the barriers of working remotely, and thrive in our new circumstances.

Since starting at Push I can’t fault the effort made to make me feel a part of the team. Within the first few weeks of my employment, we had regular ‘meet the team’ calls, which consisted of being introduced to our new colleagues and understanding the environment in which we were soon to be working in. Alongside this, regular team catch-ups / weekly syncs have been great at understanding my colleagues on a more personal level.

What has been of paramount importance to me is the use of business communication tools such as Slack. Tools like this have helped facilitate positive interactions between both myself and colleagues, allowing a touch of personalisation to enter the workplace. When you look at the theory behind this, having positive interactions in a business is key as it allows innovation and creativity to thrive – something we as marketers need to develop in abundance, even in remote environments.

From my experience, companies should encourage a certain level of socialisation and integration calls like those that I have mentioned in order for employees to really feel a part of the team remotely. Therefore, there may need to be a social distance, but you don’t need a distance to be social!

 

Remote learning

When joining any new company, especially as a graduate, there is typically an onboarding process set up to train new employees that ensure they are up to the necessary standard to be competent in the workplace. Due to current circumstances, this has caused drastic changes in onboarding, causing many employers to train their new staff remotely.

Something I would encourage anyone currently experiencing remote learning to do is not to be afraid of asking questions. It cannot be exaggerated how critical it is to express a lack of understanding and ask for help. Walter Orechwa discusses the differences between being trained in-person and being trained remotely, in-person training provides a number of benefits but namely “Talking to another person face-to-face usually provides greater clarity and understanding than communicating through texting or email”.

When on a Zoom call or in Push’s case Google Hangouts (it’s great, definitely try it) you lose that sense of human interaction and clarity, so it can be harder to interject with your own understanding. However, it is of the utmost importance that you voice your confusion to benefit your own personal development – I promise it’s not that scary coming off of mute!

 

Adapting to your new working environment

Settling into working from home has been difficult for all, especially those that prefer the buzz around an office. It can be easy to find yourself lacking motivation in a remote environment, whether you are new or an older employee, especially those under 35 as 44% of this demographic have found it hinders their performance at work.

In order to keep myself focused, one of the main things I have found to help is a dedicated routine. Routines are something that can be adaptable to preference, for example, I find that an early wake up followed by a dog walk helps me start the day with a clear and concentrated mind. However, someone that prefers a lie-in could argue that sleeping for longer improves their performance. The point is that everyone is unique, but keeping a consistent and dedicated routine helps nurture productivity when working from home.

Another factor to consider when adapting to your new working environment is your workspace. From my experience, having a devoted place to work helps separate work life from home life and means you can train yourself to switch your ‘work brain’ on and off. I’m sure we are all guilty of working past our dedicated hours at home, but it is imperative not to push yourself to the point of burnout. As a result, having a dedicated workspace is key in order to not create bad habits. Therefore, leave your working life in your workspace when your day is done. Once that laptop lid is shut, keep it that way!

 

 

Client rapport

Finally, building rapport with clients during lockdown will always have its challenges. Human interaction reigns supreme for building good working relationships but there are ways to adapt that should not go unnoticed. As aforementioned we have some core values here at Push and manifesting these in communication have been critical to my work.

We believe in: being open, always being ahead, being fast and being a family within our work. When these values coincide it exemplifies a strong work ethic in conjunction with complete honesty, something we are very proud of here! So, if you can adopt these into your approach to client work you’re 80% of the way there. The other 20%? That’s a family secret….

There we have it! Blog done.

I hope my experiences in this blog could be of use to those just coming into new employment or for businesses employing new staff. I also hope this can be of use to those recently joining the Push family! We are continuing to welcome new members to the team with open arms (virtual hugs, of course!).

Interested in seeing the new members of our team? Click here.

 

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