Written by Samantha Oates-Miller, Careers Insights and Graduate Support Assistant at the Careers Service
Congratulations on your new job! Starting remotely can be hard, but because of the pandemic, many companies have chosen to move their operations online, either temporarily or permanently. As a result, some new starters can struggle to connect with their colleagues, missing out on networking, mentors and friendships. We have compiled a list of nine ideas to help you connect with your colleagues virtually. There are also five testimonials from other The University of Manchester graduates who have started work remotely.
Our nine top tips:
- Ring your colleagues. Whether it’s on the phone, or via Zoom, Teams or another platform, having a conversation is often easier and more rewarding when it’s ‘live’ and not an email.
- Engage in team meetings. Show your face, join in and interact with people outside of your usual close colleagues.
- Participate in wellbeing activities. This might be in the form of a Zoom chat, mindfulness session, awareness course, or similar.
- Take part in sports. Whether your team is doing a running challenge, or has a morning yoga session, join in!
- Attend coffee catch-ups, virtual post work socials or shared lunches.
- Use a ‘watercooler’ chat channel for non-work conversations and chitchat.
- Join a book club if there is one. If there isn’t, make one! You could also make a film or TV club instead. This is an easy way to meet colleagues with similar interests.
- Discover whether there is a mentoring or buddy system. A work buddy or mentor is usually there to guide you in your first weeks or months.
- Bond over pets. Share their cute or embarrassing photos, or ask colleagues if they have any funny pet stories to share.
Five tips from recent graduates who started remotely:
- Raluca says, “While emails are a good way to communicate, I felt more comfortable asking questions and connecting with my colleagues via our chat system. We also organised virtual coffees, where everybody turned their cameras on, and I had the chance to see my colleagues and get to know them outside work.”
- Bariz says, “I found it useful to use LinkedIn to become familiar with who works alongside me. In wider meetings, if I saw someone I wanted to connect with, I would send them an email for a quick informal introduction/catch up to introduce myself.”
- Sam says, “Regular meetings with my work buddy helped me, as they were able to tell me who was who and give me insights into work culture. We also have wellbeing meetings where we bring a cup of tea and just have a chat with colleagues.”
- Camille says, “Don’t hesitate to message people you don’t know when you have questions; the chances are that they have encountered a similar issue you are facing and will help you sort it out. This way you also get to interact more with people you work with and can start making friends before you actually move back in person.”
- Chloe says, “Being in contact with colleagues via chat was a great less formal way to contact people. Asking them how their day was going and what their weekend plans were was quick and a more personal way to get to know my team.”
Hopefully, these tips and ideas will help you connect with your new colleagues. Remember that you can continue to access the Careers Service for up to two years after you finish your course, so if you need any more support or advice, you can book a guidance appointment with one of our Careers Consultants, as well as register for events on CareerConnect and use all of the resources on the Careers Service website.