Looking for your first job can be a challenging experience, especially now that home has become the base for employment. Apart from standing out amongst a sea of online profiles and resumes, you also have to contend with working remotely. Before we launch a set of work-from-home tips to ease you into your first job, here are some things you need to understand about the current labour environment in Singapore.
Amid the health crisis, it looks like telecommuting will remain the norm to reduce employees’ exposure to the virus. Minister of Trade and Industry Gan Kim Yong urged employers to adopt greater flexibility in their work arrangements. Even when restrictions are lifted and eased, he stressed the importance of minimal physical interactions within the workspace.
Learning crucial work-from-home tips will help you navigate through this new setup. While telecommuting may seem like a more convenient work arrangement, working from home has its share of difficulties. Not only do you experience endless distractions, but you also blur the line between work and home. When you’re a seasoned worker, you may have an easier time finding the balance, but it might take some getting used to for first jobbers.
Another challenge is that it’s harder to establish a deeper relationship with your colleagues because you only interact virtually.
Apart from this, navigating your first job while you work from home is not an easy feat. You may feel inundated as you receive emails and chat messages left and right. You may also feel isolated because you’re physically working alone and with people, you may have not met face-to-face.
The Bright Side
Thankfully, there are ways to help you seamlessly adjust to telecommuting, so it’s not as daunting. With the right tools, techniques, and behaviours, you can bridge the physical gap with your teammates. Here are work-from-home tips and tricks so you can succeed at your goals.
Establish a work-friendly area and routine.
The first work-from-home tip is the easiest one: designate a work area in your home. You may want to position the desk where you receive ample natural light or have a view of the outdoors. You can also place it where you feel you can focus best on the task at hand.
Come up with a routine you can maintain. Working from home can get tricky when there’s always the temptation to watch Netflix or do a non-urgent household chore. Your regimen must allow you to have a flow that will make you more efficient and productive throughout your work hours.
Break work into manageable chunks. Projects can feel overwhelming when you look at them as a whole. Try to break them apart into smaller milestones. This way, you can achieve smaller deliverables within a timeframe. Work-from-home tips such as this is a great way to help you feel in control of your tasks.
Have breaks as needed. Just like in an office, make sure you have set times within the day when you can take a well-deserved breather. Take time to stretch or make yourself a cup of coffee to relax to refresh your mind.
Before you dive into a day full of tasks, make sure you give yourself a proper introduction to your team. If there is no designated team meeting for your official introduction, then send short introductory emails to your colleagues.
Any resource on work-from-home tips will emphasize the importance of socialization. In a virtual work environment, simulating human interactions does wonders to enhance professional relationships. On top of sharing your professional background, make sure to squeeze in some tidbits as well about your personal life. It helps your teammates have a better idea of what your personality is.
Some organizations have “get-to-know” sessions wherein a newcomer has the opportunity to introduce himself to teammates on a one-to-one basis. You may want to schedule this with your colleagues or invite them to a casual virtual chat over coffee.
Companies will typically have a structured onboarding process, wherein you get a tour of the physical office and meet bosses. You’ll also learn about the company and its origin, values, and culture. Under a telecommuting setup, you may want to request reference materials from the HR department or your superior. Consider it as a DIY orientation before your first official day at work.
Some employers will also assign you a “buddy” to guide you through the ropes at work. They will guide you through the onboarding process and check if you have everything you need.
Because you’re working remotely, you’ll need to rely heavily on instant messaging applications, email, and videoconferencing to stay connected. Make sure you’re armed with technical requirements such as programmes and software before your first day. In this way, you can start tinkering around with them and familiarize yourself with how they work.
Add a personal touch.
Pre-pandemic, office mates could simply go to your desk for a quick question or have a chat with you over lunch. These days, you have to compensate by being available online.
It may feel at first like you’re working with strangers, which is understandable. By adding personal touches here and there, you can inject a sense of human interaction while filling that emotional gap. This will help break the ice, ease any awkwardness, and help you get along better, too. Small things like saying “Hi” when you chat or adding an emoji helps add warmth to your communication. These work-from-home tips will help you become friends with your colleagues and enjoy working with them.
Stay proactive, flexible, and professional.
When the people you’re working with are behind screens just like you, you may feel all alone. When you take the initiative to ask questions or collaborate, you’re breaking down those barriers and enabling yourself to succeed.
If at times you may be uncertain about anything, don’t hesitate to reach out to your boss or your colleague for clarification. They might even welcome this interaction as it helps them feel validated as a more experienced colleague. Having a teammate ask for help is also a great way to build trust and foster deeper connections. These work-from-home tips also show that you are open to learning from your peers and boss.
With the privilege of working from home comes the responsibility as well as being adaptable. Be prepared to adjust depending on the situation and to come up with innovative solutions.
Keep your messages as brief and as straightforward as possible to avoid any guesswork or misinterpretation. Proactively recap next steps and action points after meetings or team discussions so you can align on agreements and deliverables.
Hopefully, these work-from-home tips help you adjust well to a telecommuting setup. You may just be at home, but with frequent video calls, it helps to dress up accordingly. Being in the proper attire also helps channel your “work mode” so you feel more motivated to get things done.
At the end of the day, your team is also balancing both their work and personal lives. With this, remember to observe workplace etiquette and to be respectful of colleagues’ boundaries. Most importantly, find ways to stay positive and focused so you can stay inspired and driven at work.