Tried and tested tips from two Thinking Hatters who’ve only met on Zoom
Lockdown is easing, spring is blooming, and Thinking Hat PR are looking for a new office. We’ve been really lucky to grow our team during the past 12 months, but a strange result of the lockdown is that some of us haven’t met our colleagues in person yet.
Starting a new job is challenging in normal times, so when you’re missing out on spontaneous pub lunches, office chat and coffee breaks, what happens then?
We learn more than we think from these micro-interactions, but if the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that there’s always new opportunities and creative workarounds in uncharted waters.
So what would we advise for any new starters biting the virtual bullet? Felix Leach, Account Manager and Claire Creagh, Senior Digital Strategist, started their roles at Thinking Hat during lockdown and are sharing their tips on how to virtually survive and thrive in a new role.
Felix Leach, Account Manager
I started at Thinking Hat in August and have only ever been to the office once in all that time! Despite that I feel really settled and love my teams, and felt there was some pieces of advice I can pass on to any other virtual starters.
First of all, take some time to get to know everyone! It may seem obvious, but getting to know your colleagues is an important step in feeling grounded and enjoying your new start. Book in coffees or a cup of tea to get to know people, and make sure you extend these invites beyond your immediate team. Understanding what other teams and colleagues do can be helpful down the line and give you a much greater feel for what the company is about.
In a similar vein, using video for these calls can help build bonds. Rather than feeling anonymous behind a black Zoom screen, seeing faces and mannerisms will help you feel more at ease and closer to your colleagues. If you can meet in person, all the better! Going out for lunch or a drink with a colleague or client will cement those bonds and make working together easier and all the more enjoyable.
Lastly, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Starting any role can feel intimidating, even more so when you don’t know the company processes and aren’t able to ask a teammate you’re sat next to. Opening email or a messaging tool to ask small, mundane questions can feel silly, but if you need it to do your job, then it is important! You’d be asking dozens in person, so, without pestering, make sure you ask about what you need to know!
Claire Creagh, Senior Digital Strategist
I joined Thinking Hat six months ago and already feel like part of the furniture. I’ve never met any of my colleagues in person, but I feel like I know my team really well already.
I could tell my new colleagues were well versed on remote working when I started because everyone made such an effort to make me feel welcome. It’s a real testament to the company’s values and leadership, and it made me want to return the gesture!
My biggest tip is to be keen and be seen. It’s easy to get forgotten about when everyone is busy and stuck behind screens, but it’s not an excuse to let first impressions slide. I was excited to start my new role and I wanted to show it, I volunteered to help wherever I could and looked for ways I could add value while I was learning the ropes of my core job.
I’m not suggesting taking on loads of extra work – just being engaged with other teams and interested in their projects is brilliant for collaboration, inspiration and making new mates.
Second to this, keep things causal and let your personality shine! This year’s been hard so formalities can feel quite cold over zoom and email, don’t be scared to spend extra time chatting rubbish at the end of a call and finding out more about your new team. My tip is don’t watch the clock or worry about keeping it professional – building relationships is key to surviving remote working, it helps builds trust, will make the work better and it makes everyone feel good!