Vic Management Interns' blog

Blog posts by Victorian Management Interns of the Australasian College of Health Service Management. Views are those of the individual authors and not those of ACHSM or management interns’ host organisations or employers.


ACHSM Admin
ACHSM Admin

HMIP Victoria Management Interns

Starting a new role in the virtual world

Author: Matthew Macaulay

2nd year Management Intern

The one thing that has been certain during the COVID pandemic is uncertainty. COVID has impacted business in a way no one was expecting, asking employees to work differently, to be flexible and agile in their operation, and their implementation of projects and tasks.

One of the most significant changes for organisations to continue operating during COVID was to enable staff to work from home. Working from home when you have established relationships and structure to the work you complete has been a difficult transition for staff to make. However, starting a new role in the virtual world is a next-level transition for those that are new to organisations and new to working remotely. Although working in the virtual world might be a novel experience for now, many organisations will choose to continue working remotely as it reduces costs, and increases efficiency (Silvermann, 2020).

As part of the ACHSM Management Internship program, I have had the opportunity to experience working remotely first hand. My third placement of the program, earlier this year, involved a transition from working on-site to working from home for a large metropolitan hospital, and the second, at a community health service, where I have embraced working from home from the beginning. 

Starting a new role remotely can be confronting but hopefully, some small tips can make a world of difference. If you are looking for your next opportunity or about to start your next role here is some advice to make it as successful as possible.

  1. Be prepared and proactive in getting acclimated to your new role before you have even stepped through the doors. Most likely orientation and onboarding will be online and you will need to ready for this. Reach out ahead of time to understand what the process will look like and what is required of you.
  2. Meet your manager. Organise regular catch-ups with your manager and get a list of stakeholders to reach out to. Set goals early for outcomes you want to achieve at 30/60/90 days. Monitor your progress with weekly meetings, or ascertain the frequency of future catch-ups. Determine how you can best demonstrate you are getting the job done.
  3. Meet your co-workers. It is important to build rapport and relationships with your team. This can be spontaneous; as corridor conversation and water cooler chats are no longer happening, or intentional; send out a hello email, and maybe organise a happy hour or ‘get together’. During your catch-ups, ask about their roles and the projects their working on, advice on getting settled, or how they are working towards their goals virtually. Ensure you plan to regularly check-in with the team to keep everyone connected.
  4. Ask Questions or make a running list. Don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Chances are someone else has had the same issue. Try to identify a go-to person/buddy that is happy to assist where possible.
  5. Communication. Ascertain what the working rules are for the team and any individual preferences as there are many options. For example, email, messenger/chat, text messaging, phone call, video call, etc. Don’t guess, just ask. How will you know when people are working, are away from their desks or on annual leave, etc. For example, do you utilise a live roster or update your status on messenger/chat software
  6. Workstation. Set up a workspace at home away from noise, disruptions, and poor lighting. Ensure the space is ergonomic and ideally in a separate area than your living space. Banish pets and children for formal meetings, but share your loved ones at after-hours catchups or at lunch with the team.
  7. Be flexible and understanding. Remember your manager and colleagues are still getting used to working remotely. There may be pressures of kids and home schooling, new pets, or partners having working around each other.
  8. Be available and visible. Update the roster or chat status to let people know you are available. Although it usually acceptable to be flexible with your start and finish times, it is still important to communicate these with your manager and team.
  9. Support your team. If you are responsible for managing a team, make sure you give your employees a sense of belonging from the beginning. As staff will be moving even less by working from home, organise weekly exercise, meditation and stretching classes and mindfulness sessions for mental health. Reward and recognition programs are fundamental during this time to keep morale high, make sure people know they are doing a good job.

References

Silvermann, B. (2020). Does Working From Home Save Companies Money? Published by Business.com



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