Top Tips For Starting Remote Work As A Graduate
There’s no denying the fact that remote working has changed the world of business and that the change is here to stay. If you’re a graduate about to enter the working life, the chances of landing a job that is either fully or partially remote are high. Research shows that globally, 52% of us work from home at least once a week, and it's predicted that by 2028, 73% of all departments will be remote.
Whilst there are numerous benefits such as increased autonomy and a more flexible schedule, it can be overwhelming for a graduate when having to adapt to both working remotely and adjusting to the transition from an academic to a professional lifestyle. Below are some remote working tips that will help make this change easier so that you can excel in your first job position.
Have a dedicated workspace
Find a space where you’re free of distractions and feel the most productive. Don’t worry if you don’t have the luxury of a spare room for a home office - it could be as simple as setting up a desk in the corner of your bedroom or working at the kitchen table or dining room. Wherever it is, ensure you feel comfortable and can leave or put it away when the work day is over. And as inviting as the sofa may be, it’s best to wait until after 5pm before getting on it!
Prepare and organise the space with all your required equipment such as notebooks, pens and headsets for video calls, and decorate your area in a way that inspires and motivates you. Having an ergonomic chair and positioning your computer to eye level is also important to help avoid backache and neck tightness from sitting down all day.
Create a sustainable work-from-home routine
Remote working can make it difficult to separate home life from work life and it can be hard to find a healthy balance. Having a set routine, scheduling regular breaks, and being strict about what time you clock off will prevent burnout.
Stick to the same wake-up time Monday through Friday and create a morning ritual that puts you in a positive mindset for the day. Take advantage of not having to commute by spending the first hour doing something you enjoy such as exercising, taking the dog for a walk, reading a book, or having breakfast with your family. When you start work, create an atmosphere that is free from distractions and puts you in a productive mindset. For example, that might mean muting your social media notifications or having music on in the background.
If your day allows, try to take small breaks and ensure you allow time for lunch. Even if it’s just 30 minutes, looking away from the screen and nourishing your body with healthy food will help keep you energised and performing well throughout the day.
Overworking is common for many remote employees and unhealthy work habits are easy to develop, such as checking your emails late at night or being unable to switch off on the weekends. To prevent this, establish strict rules for yourself from the start such as getting your work done within the appropriate hours, switching off your laptop at the end of the day and muting any notifications for the hours you’re logged off.
Get to know your colleagues
Even though you’re not in the office, building a strong social life at work is still possible. This could be as simple as you sending out an email during your first few days introducing yourself or requesting to connect with each colleague on LinkedIn.
If your manager hasn’t done so already, you could also propose a quick 1-1 online chat with each team member. Ask them about their role within the company, and find out their preferred way of communicating e.g., via instant message, video call, or email. This will demonstrate that you are keen to cooperate and interact with everyone.
Take part in all the opportunities made available to socialise with your colleagues including the virtual events like lunchtime quizzes and coffee chats via zoom, as well as the fun in-person socials. Try to avoid discussing work in these events, and instead spark a conversation that enables you to get to know them personally as well as professionally.
Make a good impression from day one
Remote work doesn’t mean you can get away with less preparation. As with any other job, taking the time to prepare before you start and showing consistent organisation from the start is crucial for demonstrating your competence and skill as an employee.
Before your first day familiarise yourself with any new collaboration and communication tools your new company uses such as Slack, Microsoft teams or Trello. Test out any new hardware and software you’ve been given. Research the company to enhance your knowledge by going through their social media profiles, industry associations, and recent news. Take a look at your colleagues' LinkedIn profiles too, as this will help you get a good grasp of the company culture.
When attending your virtual meetings, ensure you are always on time. Actively listen throughout and jot down any important information or key questions that you’d like to be answered at the end. It might be helpful to have a few notes at your desk that act as prompts during your first few meetings, such as colleagues' names, what they do, and topics you’ve discussed.
Once you are in the swing of things, make it a habit to create a daily to-do list prioritising your tasks so that you don’t get overwhelmed. Buy yourself a special notebook to use to write down your weekly schedule, and any work ideas you have during the day. A physical copy is often better as it’s a break from the laptop and can help stimulate your brain and creativity!
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Since the option to quickly pop into your manager’s office to ask a question isn’t available, it's easy to hide your struggles and feel a little lost in a graduate remote job.
Don’t be scared to ask your supervisor or colleagues for help when you need it. They don’t expect you to know everything right away. Reaching out when you’re struggling will show them that you are able to recognise your weaknesses and are eager to learn and improve.
Landing your first job after graduating is an excellent achievement. You must celebrate and know that feelings of anxiety and uncertainty are completely normal.
Focus on creating a sustainable routine that works for you and allows you to prepare and prioritise work efficiently. Soon enough, remote working will become second nature and you'll develop the confidence to demonstrate further your talents and expertise to the company.
Are you a graduate looking to enter the professional world? We’ve hundreds of positions available in industries such as accountancy, human resources, marketing and digital, IT, and many more. Alternatively, you can search all our positions here, or register with us.