Remotely Unsure: Getting onboard with a new way of working

March 24th, 2020 – Prime Minister announces a national lockdown

March 30th, 2020 – Start new job at Identify Solutions

Before this job I’d never worked from home before, it’s not that common in the recruitment industry as some believe it “takes away from the buzzy culture of the Sales floor”. However, my new employer, Identify Solutions, offered this anyway as they see the value in flexibility. One of the biggest appeals of the company was their adaptable attitude to working hours. What I didn’t know was that instead of the 2 days remote working a week initially discussed, it would in turn into 7 + months working from my rickety kitchen table.

I’d taken some time off before starting with Identify Solutions to visit family and friends and considering the current circumstances I’m grateful I did. So, when my first day came round, I was a bit worried about working from home and getting back into the ‘swing of things’ after so much time off. I was apprehensive about how I’d know when to ‘switch on’ work mode when I didn’t have a proper desk, office phone, daily commute or colleagues to talk to. Equally, I worried if the temptation of having the laptop open at all times was there, I wouldn’t know when to switch off – clearly, I was worrying a lot.

Luckily, I’d joined a company who’d set up a great virtual onboarding process and I quickly felt part of the team, this was aided by lots of Team chats (and thankfully not that many quizzes). It was important for them that I had time to build relationships with my colleagues outside of the work that we do and I’m extremely grateful that they did.

I decided to do some research on how to get the most out of working from home and came across the work of Holland Haiis, a productivity expert. What I found most interesting is that it is common to feel a bit lost working from home, not knowing which task to pick up next and trying to monitor your own productivity.

Here are Haiis’ best tips to working from home, which have been invaluable to me and may also be a help to you:

  1. Scheduling – start your day as though you were going into the office; shower, breakfast and stick to the same start time – don’t dwell in your PJs all day
  2. Lists – make a weekly list of key tasks that need completing and then daily lists of the more minor tasks as well
  3. Breaks – it’s important to take ‘microbreaks’ to recharge and it can help release stress. These are small breaks we’d take in the office anyway i.e. making a coffee, chatting to colleagues
  4. Keep Moving – whether it’s stretches, walking around the garden, breathing exercises, make it a priority to stay active and not tied to your desk / kitchen table
  5. Clocking Off – Lastly, maintain a clocking off time. It is easy to keep checking emails or just to ‘quickly finish something’ but this can lead to a negative work / home life balance. It’s just as important to have a strict finishing time as it is a starting time

For anyone thinking of joining a new company during a pandemic, take the leap and make the change, but make sure you know exactly what the onboarding process consists of and ask for additional time to chat to colleagues to build relationships. Companies who value culture and community are advocates for this and anyone who isn’t, well, maybe they’re not the right company for you…

My own tip for anyone currently working from home is, don’t be too hard on yourself. We’re all trying to thrive and survive during a pandemic where everything is so uncertain. It seems to me that, people don’t mind if the doorbell rings, or kids are demanding attention or dogs are barking in the background of our calls, everyone get it’s, we’re all in this together.

If you’re looking to onboard remotely but don’t know where to begin, or if you’d like some advice on how to manage your remote employees effectively, get in touch on 02920 021050 / 02080 514777 or or send us an email at and we will happily send over our onboarding guide!

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