I started a new job fully remote. This is how it was
By Pedro Rosa, Digital Communication Marketing @ Xpand IT
Apart from all the experiences you might (or not) have, starting a new job is always a huge challenge. New colleagues, new work methods, new routines. It is a new life that requires adaptability and reaction to ourselves to give the maximum from the first minute.
This article is about my experience. Let me introduce myself. My name is Pedro, I’m 23 years old, and I’m currently taking a master’s degree in Marketing at ISEG — School of Economics & Management, in Lisbon. It is a challenge. I’m not a studies person, and I never thought about continuing my academic journey after my bachelor’s in Management. I was sick of books, essays, presentations, and the mess that was the deadlines (believe me, I delivered until the last second!). However, my passion for Marketing talked louder and here I am. At that time, I already had a job in marketing, but I accepted the next mission: having a few more study years while owing more hours of sleep to my bed. Nothing new. After all, and like we use to say in Portugal: “who runs for taste, does not get tired.”
Early March 2020, I was ready to begin the second semester at the college. But at the same time, (my) world decided to show that everything can change from one day to another. The pandemic that haunted us in the distance arrived in Portugal, and with that came a total change in the social and economic pattern. Closed stores, universities suspended classes, the ball on the pitch was not rolling anymore, the companies freeze their productions, and the country got temporarily stopped.
It was during that time that I’ve also received the confirmation that I would be part of the Xpand IT team. I went to their office a few days before. I had my job interview and I quickly perceived that I was facing a different company. I couldn’t wait to make that space my second home and those people my new family.
Starting a new job fully remote — how it all has began
I started to work on April 6th with all the usual processes of team integration, and adaptability to a new environment and business world that I wasn’t used to. And so it was. On the long-awaited day, I had my onboarding process but the office was substituted by my bedroom, my new teammates to a screen and the happiness of starting a new adventure was shared alone. Do you think this is a sad, grey and all went bad story? Believe me, it was not. I confess that it was not the beginning I was expecting.
It was the possible start. I started that Monday with a ready computer (previously sent by the company) and making long trips between my bed and my desk. In that route, I get dressed and prepared with the objective of not showing that I was still asleep. I turned on the computer and there started a new chapter in my life. I became an Xpander from that moment. I entered a meeting room on Microsoft Teams and was well received since the beginning. The people smile giving the kick-off to my adventure were contagious. They all seemed regular people like they were working from home since forever. Between kids screaming to the TVs and cats passing in front of the computer screens, the “normality” that they were transmitting made me believe that the future (and present!) is in this kind of company. The adaptability was huge. The only difference between being in my desk and an office in Lisbon is that in my room I could be wearing pyjama pants and fluffy slippers.
This is the job culture today and it’s totally different. Xpand IT is a company that conveys all the values I want for my career. The daily meetings with my team, cuisine contests, fitness classes promoted by the company, (virtual) pauses to have a coffee, the challenges of working fully remotely… All of this makes grow the enthusiasm and the will of wearing the company shirt every day.
To conclude, I will wear Ted Mosby’s skin and give you some advices that can help youngsters (yes, I’m 23 years old, but I think I’m 75 and can give exhortations about life) that are seeking their first experiences in the job market or are working remotely.
So, here it goes.
4 tips that help me maintain a healthy work routine
“Kids, I start to tell you that…”, Forget, I’m going straight to the point. This new reality made me understand that there are routines that can be done for good. But at the same time, this is a unique opportunity to make a change in our old habits. For example, because of this new reality, we are living, there is an anxiety increase which can decrease productivity at work. There is nothing bad about it. However, I’ll give you some practices I’ve found out and that can help you to stay focus as much as possible on work, family, and yourself/myself (yes, don’t forget to take care of yourself!):
1 — Schedules
This may seem like a simple tip, but this one can make the whole difference for you. Keep your sleep, work, and short breaks hours throughout the day. And don’t forget that on the meals too. Maintaining this is a halfway road to being able to support these atypical days in the best way.
2 — Meals
Who hasn’t gained a few extra pounds since being at home? I had and believe me, I am one of those people who no one likes: I eat and don’t get fat! But back to the topic, try to keep your meals balanced and properly spaced throughout the day. It has made all the difference in terms of energy and well-being. I make gourmet dishes now… a real homemaker, me!
3 — Physical Exercise
I believe that you are always on social media watching your friends doing push-ups and squats. If you haven’t joined them yet, you are always on time to do it. From tutorials on YouTube to direct on Instagram or specialized App … excuses don’t exist and trust me, it really makes a difference. My point is: when you train, you may not even have Cristiano Ronaldo’s or Beyoncé’s body, but at least that chocolate cake you ate in the middle of the afternoon will no longer weigh as much.
4 —Having a drink with friends
ahhh… The distant memories of going to drink with friends in Lisbon on a Friday after work… it seemed so complex to organize a beer with that WhatsApp group where you are always receiving memes that you’ve already ve seen at least 250 times. So that in the end, just two or three people go and the conversations are always the same. — Like who was the most injured team by the referee in that game of the fifteenth fixture of the 1953 championship in which we were not even born.
Everything is complex but rewarding. And now it is simpler (and you can even drink one more beer than usual — after all, the way to bed is just a few steps, and the danger from the road is gone). You can still open that WhatsApp group and call all your friends. You will see that those clearly made excuses of “I can’t go tonight, I have to take my great-aunt’s cousin to the locksmith to make a bathroom door” or “I would love to go drink with you friends, but today is my fish birthday, maybe next time”, will stop happening. And if they continue to exist… it’s time to remove them from the group. Since I am confined at home, I talk more with my friends. A virtual beer, some FIFA games where the Playstation controls always end up flying (that near-goal miss where you blame the little guy on the screen and not who’s controlling him), or a simple “hello” that can make you feel more motivated to get over this for good. And sorry, clearly this is the tip that I write about the most… I really miss a good drinking night.
These are my new routines and I confess: I don’t know if I would change them. And you? Which new routines have you brought into your life?
Finally, and as my colleague, Ana says: “Life happens”. And it is true. Take cover. Adapt. And believe that everything will be fine.