April 24, 2020

What is it like starting a new job during the coronavirus pandemic?

What is it like starting a new job during the coronavirus pandemic?

Starting a new job can be nerve-racking at the simplest of times, however, starting a job during a global pandemic adds an extra layer of uncertainties to the mix. Our new starter, Laura, was in the office for three working days before Orchard moved their operations to ‘working from home as a result of the pandemic and advice from the States of Guernsey. 

One month into her new rolewe asked Laura to share her experiences of what it’s like starting a job during a lockdown and any helpful tips for other new starters out there.   

Having an induction despite the circumstances 

There’s a lot to learn as a new hire, from logins to new ways of working which is why employers benefit from having a well-established induction process with or without a pandemic involved. Having Orchard’s ‘Employee Handbook’ quickly became a lifeline for me thanks to the useful IT video tutorials and employee guidelines. 

Having access to this handbook allowed me to concentrate on getting to know the clients and the team instead of worrying about the admin.  

Although the team were busy adapting to new circumstances as well, I’m grateful that inductions and ‘Meet the team’ meetings still took place and I was able to fully quiz and get to know the team and their roles and responsibilities. 

A great #WFHsetup  

As #WFH and #homeofficeinspo start trending and variations including #WFHsetup emerge, being prepared to work from home is providing new opportunities and challenges. What the hashtags and images of cute dogs next to laptops and cacti don’t tell you, is the necessity for an organised IT system in order to maintain a high-quality service to clients during this difficult period. With Microsoft Teams and SharePoint successfully integrated into Orchard’s working streams, I was able to start working from home straight away and the transition into ‘Orchard life’ was easier than expected. It’s even helped limit the number of times that I have e-mailed the team to ask where a particular document is saved within the folders. 

Ask lots of questions  

Striking the balance between asking questions and taking the initiative to find the answer is never easy when starting a new job especially when communicating predominantly online. Working from home has meant that it’s harder to facilitate conversations such as “What would you do in this situation?”An effective way of handling this issue is daily and regular catch-ups with various team members over Teams. Doing this allowed me to learn and start working with clients quickly, find a daily routine and get to know the team over the course of my first month at Orchard. I’m extremely grateful that Brooke, Chris and the team have been so understanding and despite this situation we were able to create an open dialogue. 

During my time at Orchard PR I have already established some favourite phrases when needing to ask a last minute question including: 

  • “Just a quick query on…” (It’s never a quick query) 
  • Can l play the newbie card and ask…
  • I’m not sure if it’s because I’m still learning but.. 

Positive Vibes 

Despite starting the role in a slightly different way than expected, I’m really looking forward to my time at Orchard PR. The past month has provided some varied and engaging work as clients adapt their communication plans and strategies to the changing environment. Morning team catch-ups and Dan’s Friday WFH quizzes provide some light-hearted entertainment and I’m looking forward to being reunited with my work colleagues once this is all over.  

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