by Anna Roy
In the winter of 2020, I was in my second to last quarter of college. My days were typical of a busy college student: a full course load, internship work, exercising and spending time with friends. I knew in the back of my mind that I had to start at least thinking about my post-undergrad plans, but I kept telling myself that I still had time, especially considering that I had another quarter left of school with just a few easy classes. I figured I would start the job hunt in early April, giving me a head start before moving back home to San Francisco in mid-June. I was so excited to live the city life as a young professional.
Unsurprisingly, the pandemic threw a wrench into my plans. The corporate world suddenly changed overnight. Companies all over the world were having mass layoffs and hiring freezes, and work-from-home (commonly abbreviated as WFH) became the norm, especially in the Bay Area. As the pandemic progressed, it was clear WFH was here to stay. As a fresh graduate, the prospect of starting a new job remotely was scary and bizarre. For most of my life I had always thought that I would work in an office in the city, go to lunches with my colleagues and wear cute business clothes. Little did I know that I would soon become a connoisseur of matching sweatsuit sets.
When I received my job offer from Double Forte, I was excited but also nervous. How would I be able to learn the ropes of an agency and build relationships with my colleagues, without having ever met them in person?
While I’m still adjusting to my new role, I thought I would share the key things I’ve learned while starting my first post-grad job remotely.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions
There are no stupid questions when you’re going through the onboarding process remote. When I was first learning how to navigate certain tasks and tools, I would sometimes feel awkward asking my team members for advice or guidance because I was worried about bothering them. As I immersed myself into my accounts, I soon realized that asking questions is paramount. It’s better to submit quality work that took a bit longer and required more guidance than to send something that misses the mark and requires significant more work from your colleagues. Plus, people are almost always happy to help if you reach out! It’s also an easy way to start building relationships with your team, even if it’s over Slack or email.
- Create a daily routine
One major thing that concerned me about WFH was the perceived lack of structure. When the pandemic hit, I realized how much I missed the routine of getting ready for school in the morning, going to campus and studying, and then coming home to relax at the end of the day. It’s not surprising, considering I spent the past sixteen years of my life with a set routine. WFH blurs the boundaries between work and play, and I never expected that it would be my reality in my first post-grad job. For me, I’ve made it a priority to create my own daily routine that helps me differentiate work from leisure. Key things I’ve done include establishing my workspace outside of my bedroom, doing my hair and makeup each morning and making time each day to get fresh air outside.
- Make an effort to socialize with your colleagues
It might seem intimidating to participate in a virtual happy hour or share something funny on Slack with your coworkers, but this aspect of remote work is essential for building connections with your team. Seeing and getting to know your coworkers in a casual setting, even on Zoom, helps foster relationships beyond purely work-related needs. Here at Double Forte, my colleagues have made great efforts to include me during Zoom social activities, which has helped me feel more comfortable as time has progressed
- Loungewear and athleisure can be fun!
Yes, there is such a thing as “professional” looking loungewear and athleisure, and it can be just as stylish as typical business attire! Colorful sweatshirts are the new blazer. I’ve had a lot of fun modernizing my closet with these pandemic-influenced fashion trends. I certainly won’t be upset if loungewear and athleisure is here to stay in our post-pandemic wardrobes!
There is definitely a learning curve to starting a job remotely. I’m sure it would have been easier to onboard to a new company and new clients in person rather than virtually, but my expectations have constantly been exceeded since I started at Double Forte four months ago. Regardless of my positive experience during this bizarre time, I still can’t wait for the day I can finally see my colleagues in-person for the first time (no Zoom required)!