The Coronavirus has changed pretty much every aspect of our lives – our work included.
While some of us are lucky enough to be able to carry on as ‘normal’ (though in reality, it’s far from it!), millions of people face reduced hours, cuts in pay, or no pay at all. ‘Furlough’ has entered our everyday vocabulary, even though most of us didn’t know how to pronounce it two weeks ago. (It’s like prorogue all over again…)
But while the world of work has been thrown out of kilter, there are companies out there who are recruiting. Us, for example. So what’s it like to start a new job at a time like this? And if you were thinking of jumping ship, should you still go for it?
Who better to ask than our three latest recruits! We spoke to Adrian (our new Head of Engineering), Magdalena (our new QA Engineer) and Joe (our new Bizops Analyst), to get their first-hand experience of joining a company at this uniquely challenging time.
So, you’ve landed a new job. You’re looking forward to joining, getting to know the team and proving yourself. But then a pandemic hits and the country goes into lockdown. No-one’s ever experienced this before – there’s no rule book. How does that feel?
“I decided to start a new job when I didn’t even know about the Coronavirus situation”, said Magdalena. “If I’m totally honest, I’m not sure I would have decided to change my job if I could have foreseen the pandemic. But I’m so glad I did. Moving to a company like Seccl, that already has all the tech and processes in place to make it work, has meant it’s been totally the right decision.”
A company’s ability to adapt and keep the show on the road is clearly crucial. According to Adrian, “even though the office was closed on my first day, I was still able to get up and running with the various cloud applications and be productive from the get go, while my kit was sent to me.”
Joe agreed. “It was quite a stressful time, and not for the usual reasons that a person might expect when starting a new job. Fortunately, I was joining a company where you can easily do your job from home.”
“Before I’d started my new role they had already ordered me a new monitor and offered for my laptop to be delivered to my home.”
Learning the ropes takes time – and a lot of face time at that. How can you get to know your manager, your team and the ins and outs of a business from your bedroom? Well, remote working can still be personal.
“Everyone in the company created a quick welcome video to introduce themselves and their role”, explains Magdalena. “It was really helpful to see the people I’d be working with.”
As for Joe, “each member of the business had personally introduced themselves to me via video before the end of my first week, making it easy for me to know who to go to with questions.”
And, of course, a cup of tea always helps. “Every afternoon at 2pm there is a company call open to whoever wants to join”, Adrian tells us. “we call it ‘tea time’.
“It’s just an informal way for people across the organisation to have non-work chat, share how they’re coping in this strange new world, and introduce each other to the partners, kids and pets who are a new fixture of our working lives!”
Tea time is a firm favourite among Secclers already – including Magdalena. “I remember the first one, and when I saw all the faces on Zoom, with everyone waving, it was just really lovely. My son got involved, too – I think he wants to join!”
All of our new recruits agree that communication has been key to settling in. While it might be tempting to use the space to your advantage, and hide away to swot up on all the new subject matter that’s being thrown your way, it’s far better to do the opposite.
“The first two weeks I basically spent talking to people as much as I could – and always on video calls, never just over the phone”, Adrian tells us. “It’s impossible to over-communicate, even at the best of times, let alone when everything’s new.”
The reality is that working from home may be with us for quite some time. And while it brings obvious challenges, there are definitely moments of levity, too.
“Rhymes [our server-side lead and all-round Seccl legend] is leading the way – but overall there is a good level of banter and humour on Slack,” said Adrian. “Which is great because a good laugh and chuckle is what we all need at this time.”
And Joe is already making his presence known. “At risk of tooting my own trumpet, I’d say my GIF game is incredibly strong. In fact, I think I message more in GIFs than I do in text. As a new starter, I found it a really good way to break the ice with some people.”
There you have it – straight from the new starters’ mouths. In summary: don’t fret, be adaptable, be prepared for video calls (so style your hair or find a fancy hat to wear), and most importantly: just be yourself.
But you may be thinking, well, it’s ok for them, they’ve started a new job. What about if you’re still looking for new opportunities? Should you think again?
“Obviously there is a lot of volatility and uncertainty in the world right now and therefore I can appreciate anyone in a secure job may wish to hold off moving to a new role”, said Adrian. “However, there are many companies out there that have the strength to not only continue to execute, but also to grow.”
Magdalena neatly summed it up. “If the company is open for new employees, then it clearly supports remote working and can set new joiners up for success. Just go for it!”
If that’s you, why not check out our careers section – we’re very much still hiring, and would love to hear from you. And above all, stay safe :)
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