So, you just scored a role at a remote-first company? Congratulations!
Amongst the excitement about getting started, you may also be encountering some first-day jitters (they’re not unique to office working!). If you’ve never worked for a remote-first company before, you might be wondering how it all operates. It’s normal to have lots of questions around meeting your team, settling in and immersing yourself in the company – from afar.
To help you hit the ground running, and live the work-from-home lifestyle to the fullest, we asked our own remote superstars how they manage this working style. As Employment Hero has been remote-first since 2020 – we went home, and we never looked back – many of our team members have spent their entire tenure with the company remotely.
Here’s their top tips for how you can kick goals in your new remote role.
8 tips for success in your first 100 days at a remote company
1. Set up a comfortable remote work environment
In a traditional office space, everything is dedicated to the purpose of working. At home, this is not necessarily so.
You might find yourself feeling distracted and uncomfortable if you don’t set up a proper work station at home. Resist the temptation to work-from-couch all day, bad ergonomics can wreak havoc on your productivity and sense of wellbeing.
Digital Marketing Coordinator Kristina thinks that setting up a comfortable workspace is an absolute must. “Optimise your new working from home set up before getting started to make sure you are in the most productive environment possible from day one.”
Before you get started, speak with your new employer about accessing or purchasing an office chair, computer monitor and headset. Think about the lighting in the room you’re working in; will the sun shine in your eyes? Do you need to install blinds, or do you need more light so that you don’t strain your eyes? Small environmental elements can have a direct influence on our daily comfort.
2. Establish a daily ritual
Back in the office days of yore, most workers would have a commute that marked the beginning and end of each day. When you’re working at home, your commute is shorter. Much shorter.
Maintaining a sense of work-life balance can be challenging when you work in your living space. Our 2021 Remote Work Report found that 21% of workers felt these two worlds were blurring. To keep work and personal time separated, you need to create the feeling of a workday starting and finishing.
“Make sure you keep a routine,” says Marketing Operations Manager Sam. “Having a ritual to start and end your workday will ensure you don’t feel like work life is seeping into home life.”
“Do whatever works for you. My day starts with a 10 minute meditation, then I make coffee. My day ends by shutting down my computer and taking my dog out.”
Junior Designer Yllianna agrees. “Set time for yourself in the morning – meditate, journal, repeat affirmations, enjoy a nice brekkie. Whatever it is, have a ritual to get you in the best headspace.”
3. Ask as many questions about your new job as you need
During your first week at a new company, it’s perfectly normal to feel a little out of your depth. You’re trying to get your head around your new role, remember a hundred names, nail first impressions, and maybe bag a few early wins – all via a WiFi connection.
In the traditional workplace, somebody might recognise the panicked eyes of someone screaming internally, and stop by their desk to help. That’s not possible in a virtual context (and we don’t recommend sending a scared selfie to your new team, however tempting that may be).
Luckily, there’s a good alternative.
“Keep asking questions,” says Marketing Coordinator Romi. “Working remotely, you can’t really observe what other people are doing, so if you’re unsure about anything at all, just ask.”
Having a deep understanding of your role and the company is essential to building strong foundations for your future. This habit should go beyond your first days in a new role. For the first three months, be a sponge; seek feedback on your work at every opportunity and learn everything you can about your company’s mission and your team’s working style.
“Don’t be shy about it!” says Yllianna. “See how your team manages their schedule and see what works for them.”
4. Set reminders to refresh
Working at home means that you don’t have the annoying distractions from the office. There are no co-workers dropping by your desk to ask for the wifi password or check up on projects. This can create a fantastic space for deep work and focus; people who work remotely can feel more productive throughout the day.
One thing that remote workers can forget to do, however, is to take breaks to refresh their mind and body. A whole morning can sail by without you realising that you’ve barely moved a muscle.
“I have reminders set for myself throughout the day to stand up and grab a drink – tea, coffee or water,” says Performance Manager Laura. “It’s too easy to get glued to the computer screen, and without the reminders I never leave my desk.”
Sam agrees that becoming sedentary while working from home is a real risk, which can be tackled with smart breaks. “I have alarms set sporadically throughout the day to remind me to get up,” she says. “I’ll do some star jumps or take my dog Frank for a quick walk around the block. It’s so easy to become sedentary when working from home.”
Curious about how to best stagger your breaks? Consider trying something like the Pomodoro Technique, a productivity strategy used by thousands. Set a timer for 25-30 minutes and focus on a singular task, then take a 5 minute break. After four rounds of this take a longer break of 15-20 minutes. Rinse and repeat.
5. Bond with your team
Having a sense of belonging at your workplace is just as vital when you’re working remotely as it is when you’re part of an in-office team. Feeling like you’re part of a team not only makes for a more fun experience, a 2019 study from BetterUp found that workplace belonging can lead to an estimated 56% increase in performance.
It’s a myth that you can’t have great relationships within a distributed team, but you do have to be more intentional about building them.
“Make an effort to get to know your colleagues and get involved in meetings or on communication channels like Slack or Teams,” says Customer Marketing Manager, Rosie.
Ask your new colleagues if they’d like to have a virtual catch up over coffee, and always join in on remote team-building activities. It’s always fun to see colleagues’ photos from wherever they’re based, and you really can’t go wrong with sharing cute pictures and videos of your pets. Remember, not everything has to be work-related. Your colleagues want to get to know you professionally and personally.
Keeping up this kind of communication can be an adjustment if you’re used to the spontaneous social interactions of the office, but it’s an essential one to master if you want to grow in a remote role. “It’s so important to get to know the people you are working with,” says Rosie. “It opens up possibilities for collaboration and fun team vibes.”
6. Keep your camera on
By a similar token, make sure that you’re engaging during virtual meetings. It can be tempting to keep your camera off, especially on a bad hair day or when you’re really tired, but this isn’t good remote work etiquette. Keeping your camera on is an easy mark of respect to your colleagues; you’re engaged with what they’re saying, and your focus is on them.
“Simple things like having ‘camera-on’ meetings wherever possible rather than faceless calls helped me get more familiar and comfortable with my peers, faster,” says CRM Coordinator Kate.
While we’re on the topic of cameras, let’s talk outfits. While your remote company is unlikely to have a formal dress code, getting into a ‘work’ outfit can be another one of those handy markers that signals the commencement of the workday. Pick something that complements your working style.
“It might sound funny, but wear what makes you work better!” says Yllianna. “Wearing trackie pants? Maybe comfort is key. Or get completely into work wear if it helps you feel productive. As long as it’s appropriate for your virtual calls.”
7. Switch up your scenery
Variety is the spice of (remote working) life. While you should have your main home work station, you should feel free to move about to different locations with your mood. This can be especially helpful when you’re finding it hard to focus, your mood drops or if you’ve hit a creative block.
“Try a change of scenery,” suggests Senior Insights Manager Natascia. “I like working from different environments as it helps my focus and motivation – I sit on the deck or in my hammock.”
Your options aren’t just limited to your house. You could take your laptop along to a local cafe, beach or (our personal preference) a dog park. We’ve even had team members take their work on the road, check out Charlotte and Constance’s diary of their remote work road trip.
You could also align time away from your desk with certain work tasks that can be done on the move. “Working from home doesn’t mean you have to be stuck at your desk,” says SEO Manager Antonio. “Take advantage of this and move, take meetings whilst you are walking outside, or if it’s too cold, walk around your home.”
8. Enjoy the amazing benefits of working from home!
During the early days in a new position at a remote-first company, it’s normal to feel a bit of pressure to prove yourself. While there’s nothing wrong with putting in extra effort to make a good impression, there’s no need to be glued to your desk at all hours to prove that you’re being productive.
Remember what made you so excited about getting a remote role – remote working is awesome! It comes with so many perks, and your employer wants you to enjoy them! The business has no doubt seen the mutual benefits that flexible working brings, so don’t be afraid to embrace the full remote experience.
“Don’t feel guilty about taking advantage of working from home,” says Sam. “Need to quickly chuck on a load of washing? Just do it. If you were in the office that time would have been spent grabbing a coffee or chatting with a colleague anyway – it’s ok to still take some time to yourself.”
Ready to kick goals in your remote role?
Remote working is a favourite work style amongst employers and employees alike. Employees enjoy flexibility, more time with family and less time on the dreaded commute. Employers reap the benefits of happier, engaged and more productive teams – what’s not to love!
If you haven’t yet secured a role at a remote company, we can help! Check out our tips for writing a CV that will help you bag your dream remote role, including what to look out for in a job description and how to convey that you have all the skills to own the position.
You could then put your new-found knowledge to work and apply for an open role at Employment Hero! We’re revolutionising the way people work – and we’d love your help. Find out more about careers with us.