By Jack Pitts, Media and PR Manager (Education and Student Experience) and his line manager Philippa Walker, Head of Media & PR, External Relations Division
‘Sorry, can you just show me how to…’
Those words are the soundtrack to any new starter’s first few weeks.
Usually, they become the temporary soundtrack for all your new workmates too; but on this occasion things would be slightly different. Instead of pitching up to a new office feeling self-conscious and overly smart, I would simply be sitting down at my kitchen table (feeling self-conscious and overly smart).
This time there would be that familiar feeling of excitement and trepidation at what’s to come – learning new, seemingly incomprehensible software, remembering dozens of new names and navigating a new set of inter-team politics – but with the added complication of doing it all remotely.
It wasn’t going to be easy.
Or so I thought.
In actual fact, the combination of an amazingly helpful team, a great manager, the general friendliness of everyone I ‘met’ and faultless tech made the whole experience painless. If that comes as a surprise to you, imagine how it felt for me.
Learning new things through video chats and screen sharing – as our students well know – really does work. And although it may not be the ideal way to start a new job, I never found it stressful or difficult.
That said, I’m looking forward to finally meeting my team in person, which will no doubt feel like starting the job all over again!
Perhaps the challenges of starting a new role remotely are balanced by being in the comforting surroundings of your own home. Certainly, saying my first hellos to the team in the same chair that I had my leaving party from the BBC in felt odd, but hardly anything over the past year has felt normal.
It did mean that instead of swiveling in my seat to ask someone a question, I had to call people, uttering, for the hundredth time, ‘sorry, can you just show me how to…’
But at least it was only me, and my very jaded housemate, who had to hear it 20 times a day.
Jack’s arrival and integration with the team has felt surprisingly seamless from my perspective too. I certainly felt more anxious than I would normally feel welcoming a new team member to a physical office, both in terms of the technology working and him getting to know the team. So it’s a relief to hear Jack didn’t find it stressful or difficult.
Full credit should go to him for sussing out the various systems so quickly (we have a LOT in the Media and PR Team), without needing to ask ‘sorry, can you just show me how to…’ too many times.
We’re just hoping everyone can meet in person soon and enjoy non-work chats over a cuppa!