It seems like just yesterday that you were searching for a new remote job. In the blink of an eye, you’d aced your interview and accepted the offer of your dreams. Now it’s your first week–and so far, you’re loving it. Congratulations!
Just like the early stages of a relationship, a brand-new job can feel overwhelming in an exciting sort of way. You’re taking in all sorts of new information, figuring out new dynamics, meeting new people (even if from afar) and getting up to speed on new systems, processes, and sometimes languages. You’re becoming part of a new team. In fact, research shows that employees tend to reach peak happiness during their first year at a new job.
According to that same research, however, that “honeymoon period” tends to wind down as employees enter their second year on the job. And although these cycles of engagement and disengagement wax and wane through the course of a career, this news can sound disheartening if you’re just starting out in a job you’re certifiably mad about.
Don’t let this news stress you out. Instead, take a moment to embrace the fact that you now know this honeymoon phase is just that–a phase–and take steps to maximize the experience.
Here are five things you can do while you’re still head-over-heels for your new remote job.
1. Establish a Knowledge Foundation
Early on in your career, you’ll likely talk about or read certain things that will raise questions about your company or aspects of your work that you’ll want to dig deeper into. These questions could range from the whereabouts of office resources to the rationale behind the use of certain project management software, long-term dream projects your remote coworkers share, or anything between. Keep track of those questions, maybe in a notebook or on a running document on your computer. Then, when you have down time or if you’re ever sharing coffee or chatting remotely with a coworker, take a moment to ask one or two.
More likely than not, these will help deepen your knowledge base and give you a wealth of institutional knowledge that will, over time, make you an invaluable asset to the company. You may even find you’re uniquely qualified to help solve long-standing problems the company has faced.
2. Build Relationships
Take advantage of your early time on staff to get to know your coworkers, even if you aren’t on the same team. Learn about them both as coworkers and as people outside the office. What are their hobbies? How do they spend their time beyond work hours?
Building genuine connections with your colleagues will help develop the strong bonds that make even remote coworking more rewarding and enhance the quality of all the work you do–even if you aren’t doing all your projects together. When you have the feeling that you’re working with people you trust and genuinely care about and are invested in, coming to work is that much more rewarding.
3. Start a Back-burner List
Are you identifying projects and coming up with ideas of things you’d like to tackle at work that you can’t always jump right into? Starting on day one of your new job, grab a notebook or scrap piece of paper you can keep somewhere safe and start recording those ideas. Every time you’re struck by a really exciting idea that you just don’t have time to address, take a second to write it down, maybe even jot down a couple of next steps if they’re on your mind, and then get back to the project at hand.
Then, when you hit a rocky patch of days where you’re feeling somewhat bored or uninspired, grab your back-burner list and see if you can find something you’re more interested in engaging with and start plugging away. With a list full of inspiration, you’re sure to find something to fuel some of the fire you felt when you started.
4. Plan Six-month Anniversary Celebrations
There’s no reason you can’t celebrate your relationship with work in the same way you would a relationship with a friend or partner. Plan celebrations for yourself that you can get really excited about to celebrate milestones in your career! This is a great way to not only practice self-care in times of stress, but also to feel good about your evolving remote work relationship. Everything from spa dates to office furniture, weekend getaways, and new tech gear are all fair game.
5. Keep a Success File
Every time you achieve something at work–no matter how big or small, keep a record of it in a spreadsheet, document, or even in an email folder. Just make sure it’s easily accessible. Then, whenever you’re feeling stressed out, your self-esteem is at a lull, or if you’re feeling disengaged, pull out your success file and look back at everything great you’ve succeeded in the time you’ve been at your remote job. This will come in handy not only as an engagement refresher, but also during performance reviews.
No honeymoon period can last forever, but remember: Just because the first year is behind you, doesn’t mean the best might not be yet to come. By maximizing your honeymoon period, you will set yourself up for a very fulfilling and successful future at your new remote job.