I recently did some investigating with a few colleagues into what students’ expectations of a graduate role are and how this could differ in a remote work environment.
As of March 2022, 71% of employers reported that they’re currently using remote onboarding and, as of May 2022, the number of ‘hybrid’ jobs rose to 24% while another 14% were based fully remotely. Remote working could very likely form a part of your early career working experience, even if not in an ongoing capacity. So, how do you develop a sense of belonging within a workplace if this ‘place’ isn’t physical?
A recent report from Leeds University Business School makes recommendations to students and graduates working remotely following a study of interns’ wellbeing during a period of remote working. Here are my highlights from these recommendations and the resources available to support you with each of these at Warwick:
Develop your understanding of networking
Networking is not only the interactions that you have with those senior to you at your place of employment. Your network offer support to you when you need it. Build bonds with your co-workers and support them when you can to ensure good workplace relationships. In a hybrid or remote workplace this might require a bit more conscious effort than if you were sat a couple of desks down from someone so get comfortable with reaching out for help when you need it and arranging time to check in on your office mates so you can build your network effectively.
Make your projects visible
When you are working remotely, it can be easy to take on your workload, complete it and move onto the next item on the to do list with little contact with your team. Take opportunities to regularly highlight and update those you report to on what and how you are doing. Discuss your achievements to highlight where you have succeeded at work and ensure that those around you recognise your strengths. Discuss the processes that work (or don’t quite work) with your teammates to share solutions and progress together. This may feel a little egotistical but it can be so easy for your achievements to go unrecognised in a remote setting if you aren’t actively involved in communicating them.
This goes for your wellbeing in relation to your workload too. Remember, in many senses a lot of workplaces are still adapting workloads to a remote environment and so they may not realise that what you have been provided with is too much or too little. Don’t be ashamed to raise with your team if you are struggling with how much you have to do or to ask for more work if you’re completing everything much quicker than planned. It’s more than likely that you haven’t done anything wrong here and it’s just a simple adaptation that needs to be made. But even if you aren’t quite on the right track, it’s better to sort this sooner rather than later.
Know the resources available to you
Ask lots of questions and try to learn however you can. Make sure you’re familiar with the digital resources (FAQs, organisational information, technical support walkthroughs etc) available and check that the answer you need isn’t within these first before reaching out. That being said, get a feel for who knows and is responsible for what in your workplace so that, when you have a great question to ask, you know where to go.
This ties into both of the above points and really boils down to the key skill that remote working requires in an even greater capacity than working in an office. Be proactive in seeking out the support of your co-workers and be proactive in building relationships with them. Be proactive in sharing your progress and be proactive in seeking out opportunities to expand your skillset and workload variety. Act on the things you most want to achieve and learn as no one else will be able to do this for you at work. These opportunities will not be presented to you as often as they can be in a university environment and this proactive independence is a skill that employers have fed back to careers services that they particularly value in their new starters post-pandemic.
Finally, keep in mind that you have been offered this role because you are among the most suitable candidates. Entering the workforce in any setting is a hard adjustment to make and imposter syndrome or wilting confidence is common among new workers.
Remember that you have put a lot of effort into applying for this role and have been offered the role over several other candidates, sometimes hundreds of others. Your first job is a learning experience in many capacities so don’t panic if you’re feeling the pressure or lacking understanding in some way. Your ability will naturally progress with time so stay confident and keep working towards finding your place within your new workplace.
Resources to support you
Need help with how to build your confidence around networking? Keep an eye out on MyAdvantage for workshops throughout the term on how to maximise your networking potential, how to effectively use LinkedIn and a host of other careers-related topics. You can also access information about networking from the Careers webpages here. Need help developing your digital skills? Make use of Moodle courses around a host of programs within the Warwick Moodle portal. Want to discuss your Career with a member of the Careers team? Find the best person to speak to here