Ivan Cooke and Susan Brennan both joined Liberty IT in April – as we’ve all been working from home since March 2020, they (like many others) started with us remotely.
Susan is a Delivery Lead and Ivan is a Product Owner. We know the thought of applying for a new job and joining a new company remotely can seem pretty daunting, so they’ve shared some of their experiences.
The first few weeks
Susan: My first weeks have been slightly surreal but fantastic! I couldn’t have asked for a warmer welcome –a welcome package sent out to my house, great communication from the Talent team ahead of my start date and a lot of friendly faces said hello on my first day. I’m looking forward to meeting them all in person later in the year!
Ivan: The structure of the company orientation was really good during the first week. My team have been great in giving me the space to onboard at a constructive pace and gradually introduced me to our key stakeholders (particularly in the US) so everything didn’t become too overwhelming too soon. I got to have a virtual chat with our Managing Director and my Account Director which made me feel like a valued part of the community from the outset.
Getting to know your team
Ivan: I’ve integrated by jumping right in. I’ve attended and set up lots of meetings which help to build rapport and relationships. The team have been really welcoming and social, which has made it very easy to get involved.
I believe it’s really important to have a few minutes for some casual conversation at the start of calls so I’ve been putting that into practice – I even found out I know a teammate’s cousin!
Susan: My line manager arranged a ‘Virtual Walkabout’ which was a personal highlight for me – and I was allocated a buddy, who I actually already knew. Having someone there every day really made a difference with the remote joining and made me feel right at home. The leaders in my unit were also extremely hands-on during my first couple of weeks, spending lots of time introducing me to the acronyms, names and products.
I was really fortunate to join in time for a team celebration in my second week, so with a delicious Boojum At Home kit, an informal evening call and lots of banter, I got to know my team on a more personal basis. I’ve had as many one to one video calls as possible with people too, learning more about their roles and work, and creating a new Netflix watch list in the process!
Working from home
Susan: I was quite surprised to find I actually do quite enjoy working from home – probably because of homecooked lunches and not commuting on packed buses every morning, but I definitely miss the atmosphere of an office and seeing people face to face. I’ve added additional time zones to my calendar so I can check timings for people I work with in other countries and have some empathy for their working schedule. Our relationships with our colleagues are as important as the work we do. I try to make sure I am honest about how I am feeling, clear in my communication and here for others if they want to chat.
Ivan: I’ve been working from home since March 2020, in my previous job. I think what really helps is having a dedicated working space at home, that you can leave for lunch and at the end of the working day. Being conscious of people’s time is vital. Back to back meetings are too easy to set up, so things like 25 min or 55 min meetings and respecting lunch times can make WFH that little bit easier.
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