Starting a new job in lockdown

The Story

Firstly, shout out to my team who hired me without ever meeting me face-to-face… it’s probably the only job I’ll ever win whilst wearing pyjama pants and ugg boots.

I moved back to Australia from London in June, and while I was doing my 2 weeks isolation in Crown Metropol, Melbourne went back into lockdown – meaning I’ve been in stage 4 lockdown for nearly 7 months straight. In this time, I’ve come to understand the reality that we are simply at the beginning of the “new normal”, so starting a new job completely remotely didn’t seem as alien as I initially thought it would.

The Struggle

In general, from a mental health perspective, everyone has probably had a day or 2 in “Struggle Town”. The impact of starting a new job from a desk in the corner of your bedroom is that you don’t get to know your colleague’s body language, what they eat for lunch, what their favourite t-shirt is or where the best local dumplings are. I don’t get to walk over to someone’s desk to ask for help or have coffee together on a break. These are all little things, but they make a difference. Luckily, The Evolved Group have done an amazing job of making my induction quite seamless, plus having these 3 programs already running made it that much easier.

The Saviours

  1. Buddy program: Every new starter gets two “Buddies” from differing departments for 3 sequential weeks each. These weekly video check-ins have been so helpful as I have learned more about different parts of the business, but more excitingly, I’ve gotten the chance to talk to a new human being!
  2. Weekly catch-ups: All employees have a weekly, randomly-grouped video call with 2-3 other colleagues to get to know people from other teams a bit better. This has been particularly beneficial as I’ve gotten to know people who I would already be friends with if we were in the workplace, but without these calls I would never have met them until we run into each other in the office – which is still many months away.
  3. Show & Tell: Once per month, 3-6 employees have the chance to present what they’ve been up to lately – work related or not. So far, I have heard about the teamwork required for Dragon Boating, the mindset developed over decades of Judo, and some of the fascinating and bespoke solutions we are creating for our clients.

The Success

I had about a dozen introduction calls in my first week and ended up writing 20-30 pages of notes, and since there’s absolutely nothing else happening in my life – I was successfully able to absorb pretty much all of it. Additionally, everyone has been genuinely friendly and answered every question I have, so even though we aren’t together, I still feel part of the team.

Thanks to The Evolved Group for making a pretty weird situation seem not so weird at all 😊