Joining a team remotely – how to adapt

Joining a team remotely was not on my list when I chose Zitec but even so, after several months spent in the company, I can tell that this hasn’t been an issue at all.  Now I’m more connected to the people I work with than I was at my previous job, even though I used to see them almost every day.

Of course, this was a team effort and we all had to learn how to adapt, and I intend to share with you some of the tricks and tips we apply in the compay in order to make the best of the situation.

When I first heard about Zitec, besides the fact that they were using one of the technologies I was working with, I had heard many great things about the team as well. This was one of the reasons why I decided to join the team.

Like many other companies, even before the corona virus issue became a real problem, we decided that it was safer for all of us to start working from home. It was for sure the wise thing to do, and even now, after the initial lockdown, we are still working from home, to be on the safe side of things.

For me, working from home all the time didn’t work in the past and it wasn’t something I wished for, but now I am grateful that our domain gives us this possibility, and that we can do this easily.

Online onboarding process – This was an aspect that neither I nor my colleagues from human resources were used to. 

The onboarding process usually takes place during the first weeks in the company and was much easier at the office: handing out materials, presenting the office and the colleagues, checking the new colleagues during this period, making sure that they have all they need, and so on.

Now, during the COVID-19 pandemic, everything had to be done online. It was a team effort and both us, new employees, as well as our colleagues from HR , learned how to do it with every step we’ve made. I’ve asked one of my colleagues to tell me which was the most difficult thing to do in order to make newcomers feel welcome and like they’re part of the team, and she said that:

“The most difficult part was keeping in touch with everyone. At the office, we saw each other every day and had our coffee breaks, while in an informal space we could catch up and align everything with everyone. Of course, now we can communicate online, but it’s very hard to sense the other person’s feelings and fears at bay. HR is the first contact you get in the company, and trust is built with every interaction,” acknowledged Andra Gavrilă, HR specialist at Zitec.

She added that the most important part of their job is the feedback they receive from us, and my advice would be to give and ask for feedback every time you feel the need. This is widely encouraged here at Zitec because it helps everyone grow and make things work as expected. Our internal performance management tool, Mirro, makes giving and receiving feedback very easy – literally, in just a few clicks, we can say what we liked about working with one another and what we would improve, and this is all done privately.

Tips and tricks from a new employee

As a new employee, I was afraid to join a new team remotely. What was going to happen, and how I would integrate into the team were the two main things that I was afraid of. Happily, all my colleagues are super nice, the integration process was very smooth, and I did not feel like an outsider, even for one minute.

From the experience I’ve gained in the last months, together with the input from other colleagues who have recently joined the Zitec team, I’ve decided to share some of our tips and tricks in order to help you adapt in a new team, a team that you might meet only online.

Join social events – From time to time, at Zitec, we organize different online team games and meetings, not especially related to work, but more focused on socializing. If your company does or aims to do the same, I would recommend you to join them. This is a way to discover your colleagues in a more relaxed context, and you might find that you have more things in common with them than you think. 

Don’t be afraid to ask for help (or anything) – Ask for help from other people, and ask for clarifications and things that you might need. In the last few months, I have learned that people are willing to help, and if you don’t get the right person at first, I’m sure they might help guide you in the right direction.

Use your webcam during meetings – For some people, interaction is very important. For that, as a minimal effort for the times we live in now, I recommend using your webcam during meetings. This makes things easier, because you can see people’s reactions in real-time, even though they are miles apart, and seeing a friendly face, in my opinion, is always a good idea.

Take online team coffee breaks – From time to time, in my team, we take online coffee breaks, separate from our regular meetings, in order to see what’s new with us, how we are feeling and we share small things that are important to us: getting a new home, learning to play a new instrument, recommending a book, and so on. This is the detail that made me feel more connected to my team, even though I’m talking about people I’ve only met online.

Use socializing apps – Socializing apps are a great way of discovering your colleagues and interacting with them. At Zitec, we use Workplace, a more professional version of Facebook, through which we communicate various announcements, but also just post funny things. I’ve also told you about Mirro, a performance management platform that’s very fun and easy to use, through which we give feedback, thanks to colleagues (we call them “kudos” there), set goals, ask for time off, etc.

Make an effort – Even though at Zitec I’ve found nice people that did their best to make me feel integrated and appreciated, I think the last advice that I would give you in order to adapt as part of a new remote team, is to make an effort. 

People are different individuals with different mindsets (fortunately) and no one can give you a recipe for success, but the best way to create a great remote team is to have a collaborative environment, where people feel the desire to share their knowledge, their feelings, and their experiences in order to grow a great relationship. 

Make an effort to give others time to get to know you and give yourself time to get to know them. Everyone deserves a chance, and you might find not only great colleagues but also great friends.

In conclusion, if you were thinking about joining a team remotely, but you had some worries, I hope that I’ve managed to make them go away because in some situations working from home is the best solution, and at Zitec you won’t feel like an outsider, for sure.

So if you are looking for a job, here is our current list of vacancies. Our colleagues from HR always look forward to discovering new applicants!

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