The anxieties of starting a new job remotely
This is a slightly delicate subject to talk about this week, so I’m going to be careful how I use my words but it’s basically I suppose about life during Covid and how we approach it. And then it’s about the tools that we have at our disposal to deal with what we are going through.
So, I met up with a friend the other day for a cup of coffee and she had recently been through quite a tricky time at work where she was hired as human resources director with a new firm. Because of the way many of us are working now, ie remotely, all her onboarding was remote, and then she started working, remotely.
And of course, working remotely for most of us is a really great thing. We get to be at home, not have to travel, we can walk the dog at lunch time, drop children off at school, all those things which is really great. For many of us we were working in the office environment before Covid affected our working lives. But for those people changing roles and companies in this new working environment, ie remotely, the work experience we are having is very different to the work experience we would have if we were in the office. My friend had done all her onboarding remotely and started work remotely.
Starting a new job remotely
And my friend encountered significant problems in those early weeks with the whole onboarding process and how to work out her work and ultimately the situation with her new company was very tricky and left her quite perplexed as to how and why the situation unfolded as it did.
And when I met her, she said to me that she had started exercising and needed to pick herself up. She didn’t know quite what to do but she went exercising, and then we talked about what to wear and how to make herself feel better. She said that she felt that she needed to do something to make herself look and feel better, but she wasn’t sure what she should do exactly.
The challenges of working remotely
I also recently also been in a similar, not the same situation, where I’ve had a work challenge that has probably been exacerbated by working online, by not being face to face and by not being in an office with other people, where we could have casual conversations through the day about work and the tasks that we are doing. In my case the situation unravelled quite quickly and also was quite a dint to my confidence in a way that I didn’t expect.
It’s very hard to know how to respond to these situations that arise in a remote working environment. They affect us, they affect our emotions as if we were in the same office together. However we are remote, many miles away from other team members. That remoteness can sometimes lead to misunderstandings. Resolving those misunderstandings takes a different set of communication skills than being in an office environment. So, in my case, one potentially small issue, grew very quickly into a much larger and challenging issue. And resolving the issue also had challenges that might have been less challenging had we been able to resolve the issue face to face.
And this is part of the new norm that we are facing.
Navigating the challenges of working remotely
And what we ended up talking about was, how to make yourself feel better, how to look better, how to put time and money into yourself and how to exercise to feel better.
And for neither of us has the situation been completely resolved. We did agree that it had really helped to take steps to resolve it within ourselves. So when you face tricky situations, especially these online ones that are coming up more frequently as hybrid working solutions become part of the norm, there are still ways to solve problems which are consistent with how we used to work out problems before. And one of those ways is that you work out what you do have control over in the situation and and you work on that set of criteria in order to help resolve the situation.
Taking control of the situation
Taking control of the situation can fall into two camps. There are the negative methods of dealing with it which seem like a great idea but ultimately don’t really help: talking too much about it; gossiping about someone who you feel has done you an injustice, using alcohol to deal with the problem, ditto smoking or taking drugs, or making slightly snide, pointed comments on social media. Negative methods of dealing with the situation also include anxiety and feelings of failure around your role, which can have a detrimental impact on your ability to resolve the situation.
The flip side of the coin is, of course, to take control of the parts you can take control of. Maintaining a positive attitude whilst we are going through a difficult time at work is a great enabler to resolving the issue. Really simple actions help us into a positive state of mind. Looking after ourselves, making ourselves feel better and putting our bodies and our minds in the best frame of mind to deal with the situation we are going through is a great attitude to maintain whilst resolving conflict or misunderstanding or disagreement.
Get dressed, look after yourself, it’s not rocket science, but it works
You know I am going to say this but a really easy way to do all of the above is to take care with what you wear. To make sure that each day you are looking your best, wearing a great outfit, not neglecting to look after yourself.
It was really interesting that my friend said to me that she just needed to spend time on herself and get herself sorted out. I completely understand that. Problems are problems whether online or in real life (IRL). And self care is self care regardless of the context.
It certainly puts problems into perspective when you realise that the anxiety of them is taken away by thinking about what to wear.
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