Get started in a new remote team

Remote working is a new style of working for a lot of people and, as any other new thing, there are things you can do such that the change is smoother. There are no books (yet) about how to efficiently and no one gives a checklist on how to get used to your new colleagues. In fact, you do not even know them, because there is no in-person onboarding and, to be honest, you might meet them ever.

Meet your colleagues

Traditional office allows people to meet each other during coffee or lunch breaks, but in a remote team that is the moment when you want to leave the laptop. Instead of thinking about how your colleagues are, in the first week in the company schedule calls with your teammates and try to get to know them: what is their role within the company, where they are based, what they like doing. While it can be a strictly work-related virtual meeting, it is your choice if you prefer making it more social or not.

Understand the company's culture

Having to go through a virtual onboarding can feel boring and impersonal and there is nothing wrong with that, but it is your choice if you leave it like this or you try to go a step further and discover more about the company you just stepped in.

  • What are the projects that the company supports?
  • Are there external initiatives that you would like to join?
  • How did it all start? What's the story behind it?
  • Why the people who you work with decided to join the company?

All these questions might not give you answers to the tasks that you are going to take over, but will help you better and faster understand how is the company you just joined, what are the things that it values, and what inspired other people to join.

Set your calendar availability

From now on, you will work with people from all over the globe and your timezones and working schedules might be different. Once you start meeting your colleagues try to get to know their work schedule as well as share your own one. In this one, you avoid working very long hours or being booked on a Friday night, but at the same time, you respect other's people schedules and do not put them in uncomfortable situations by asking them to join or reschedule meetings at inappropriate hours.

From the same angle, you have to consider each country has different bank holidays, so people might be out of office at times when you expect something from them. Therefore, try planning everything in advance and do not expect deliverables on very short notice.

Turn your camera on

I know, I know... this might be uncomfortable but it makes such a big difference to be able to associate someone's name with a face. It makes the conversations more natural and you more real. In this way, people will get used to your reactions, tone of voice, and attitude. Especially when you work in a team with a very diverse cultural background, it helps people connect and understand that the way of expressing themselves is more of a personality feature, highly influenced by the culture than a way to say something.

Be patient

Starting working in a remote team requires time, such that you adapt to the new company, its culture, processes, and rhythm. Do not put too much pressure on yourself and enjoy the whole process of starting in a new team, having new colleagues, learning new things, and developing new skills. It is always good to be performant from the very first day, but it is very unlikely and there is nothing wrong with that. Ask whenever you do not know, read the documentation, and try to record processes you are not sure about, such that, whenever you need something you have a point of reference.

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