Starting a new job while working from home?

Starting a new job is usually nerve-wracking, yet, if the Prime Minister announces that a national lockdown will take effect on your first day, due to a global pandemic, that definitely adds an extra layer of anxiety. Prior to coronavirus getting cozy in the UK, I had been following how the pandemic unfolded in different parts of the world, and in all honesty, I didn’t think that Europe would get hit that badly. Never in a million years, I would have thought 2020 would be the year of the whole world getting shut down.

When Milana texted me on Sunday evening that I should be working from home on my first day, I was devasted. I had planned to work from home anyway, as soon as she mentioned in my interview ‘’ I don’t mind where you’re working from, you could be working from Mars, as long as the work is getting done, it makes no difference where from! ‘’. I knew that flexible working was at the heart of NERD Productions, and I was here for it!

Artwork by Skeeva

But there’s a difference between picking and choosing the days you’d be working from home, and not being able to meet your team on your first day. Although I felt supported and was made very welcome by the team, for the first few days, my anxiety went through the roof. Until now, I had never had the opportunity to work from home and while it comes with a few challenges, a few months in, I am completely mastering this lifestyle (I think). I have learned so many different things since I started this new adventure, and I am pleased to give my all to a company that shares the same values.

The first few weeks, my brain wasn’t taking the news so well and I started doubting what I could and couldn’t do and it was impossible for me to switch off. I allowed myself to feel all the feels, and once I was done mulling over the situation, I decided to put a plan in action. 

Artwork by Tom-Tinn Disbury

Stay positive

I haven't suppressed any feelings I had during these times and I am making sure that I am not venting to my team either. Everyone has a different sensibility to what is currently happening, especially because I am new to the team, I don’t want to overwhelm them with negative feelings from a stranger. Instead, I have picked up the phone, send emails sharing positivity and happiness. I have tried to be as encouraging as possible to my new family, setting-up workshops, catch-ups, and telling funny jokes. 

Illustration by Corinne Ladeinde

Chat away 

I am an ambivert, which means that I enjoy my own company but also love spending time with others. This situation has been great, as I love having time for myself - I have had plenty over the past few months. Although I also enjoy chatting with others, interaction with people is my energy ball. I have had hours of meaningful and small chats with people I have never really met. It's strange, it's like online dating, instead, you're getting to know your colleagues virtually. I just hope the newbie awkwardness has set off now, and I won't feel shy meeting them IRL. For now, I can truly say, I have work buddies!

Animation by Volstok

Make time for things that keep you happy and motivated

At first, I was feeling the need to stay in front of the computer for hours and started having terrible headaches and eyesight troubles. My productivity started to improve once I had integrated within my day, painting, hula hooping, baking & cooking, sunbathing, and taking pictures. It’s super important not to force yourself to spend every second in front of the screen to prove that the work is getting done. I always take some time for myself and it has been the perfect kick to working with a clutter-free brain. 

Artwork by Toast

Managing expectations 

NERD Productions is set up to work remotely and it shows! I haven't had much trouble settling in my new role. These past weeks, I have learned to manage expectations and practice active listening. Because even with all the good intentions in the world, I just can't tap on someone's shoulder to ask a quick question. I have tried my best to set up achievable goals and make sure objectives are met to keep myself going. 

Artwork by Marcos chin

This is not a time to overwork yourself though. Don't push yourself too hard and take care of your mental state.