If you’ve had to attend lectures or appointments over Zoom, it’s likely you are already familiar with the pros and cons of remote work. (And hopefully you are highlighting the skills and strengths you gained in your job applications!) Many businesses are choosing to embrace flexibility, offering their employees the choice of hybrid work, or hiring on a remote basis until further notice. What can you expect as a new graduate? Here are some things to remember if you are entering the workplace remotely.
It’s okay to be anxious about your new job
Anxiety is a given, with or without the pandemic. Try not to put pressure on yourself to feel a certain way. It’s natural to be apprehensive about change, and starting your new job is no exception.
If working from home is making you more anxious than usual, talk to your employer. All too often, we are anxious because we feel something is wrong, and we feel something is wrong because we are anxious. You can break that cycle by reaching out to your colleagues, boss, or friends in similar situations.
You may feel it is more difficult to communicate with your colleagues over email, or that you are ‘bothering’ them by doing so. Remember, they might be in the same boat! It can also be daunting to complete tasks without someone physically present. Make sure to ask for all the support you need. A good manager would want to be aware of this so that they are able to help you.
You don’t have to love remote work
Working from home has its advantages and its drawbacks. I was able to save time and money when I stopped commuting, though I suffered from cabin fever working from my living room. Remote work can offer extra flexibility, sometimes at the expense of blurring professional and personal boundaries.
A survey by Nuffield Health suggests that one in four remote workers struggle with loneliness. Everyone’s different, and it’s important to be honest with yourself about how you are coping. If your employer is embracing hybrid work, be sure to communicate your preferences. Now that restrictions have lifted, you may be able to spend more time in the office if you ask. Likewise, if you enjoy working from home, find out if this is an option going forward. Some employers view remote work as a temporary solution, while others are looking to operate this way for the foreseeable future.
Everyone has bad days
Even if working from home is your preference, you won’t be immune to the occasional slump. When this first happened to me, I took it to mean I was a horrible, grumpy slacker. I had fooled everyone into believing I was super productive, all the time! In reality, I’d only fooled myself. No one is superhuman, so don’t hold yourself to impossible standards.
When working remotely, your colleagues may not see your ‘bad days’ – but by that same token, you won’t see theirs. The upshot is you are not alone. If you’re struggling, say so. I can guarantee you won’t be the only one!
Mixed feelings are totally normal
There is no right or wrong way to feel about remote work. Some people love it, some hate it, and many of us are split down the middle, experiencing ups and downs on different days. If you have only just started, this is your chance to figure out your preferences as you go.
Remember, you have lifetime access to the Careers Service – get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org. If you need mental health support, completing PGT students can use the Wellbeing Service until December: email@example.com. You might also find our Get Started: Career Fulfilment guide useful.