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Starting A New Job During Lockdown

I started a new job after 18 months of maternity leave in the middle of the pandemic during lockdown and jumped into the new normal of working from home. How did I manage? How did I feel? Well, those questions are open ended, and the answers are changing every day as I dig my head into the workload in the virtual workspace, and e-met with my fellow office buddies in the HR professional web community at A Human Agency.

Let’s start from the beginning. Job hunting wasn’t any easier before the pandemic. As a new Mum I looked for part-time opportunities so I could manage my carer responsibilities whilst continuing to build up my career. I realised there’s an abundance of full-time jobs on the market, but part-time roles are scarce to come by. This gap shows women who have to manage other responsibilities are disadvantaged in the corporate world before they even enter a role.

My story is an exception though, and I am glad to have an opportunity to join a human friendly workplace; one where people are the greatest assets of the company, their individual needs are recognised and where employees are treated with respect in today’s ever-changing environment and uncertainty.

I was lucky enough to be hired as an HR Advisor at A Human Agency. The warm welcome and virtual team meetings helped me get to know my colleagues and hit the ground running. However, it was a little bit challenging to show my full potential as a HR professional through my laptop. I felt it would be easier to make connections face to face and build relationships. At the end of my first week I settled down, was well inducted into the business and was set up for success. To top it off, there’s nothing better than receiving a box of treats from my manager. A lovely surprise makes you feel good when you walk to your letter box on a Monday morning and discover there is something else than expected. No, not bills. A box of gourmet chocolates! Care and consideration is shown in the small gestures, it makes me feel appreciated and keeps me going.

Whilst working from home can have its benefits, on the other hand when we are in lockdown, we generally feel reclusive and remote. I learned that during times of change, uncertainty and isolation, social connection and support from colleagues and friends are essential. Even talking to a neighbour can have an impact on your day. There are a few simple ways like this you can use to make starting a new job in the pandemic easier. Creating structure and routine for the workday is another tool to improve your performance, look after yourself and promote your wellbeing. A detailed to do list and discussion with team members will always help to complete your daily tasks.

A principle I feel strongly about is this: do not skip you lunch break. Create a routine and stick to it as much as possible. If you can, go for a short walk and get some fresh air and vitamin D then continue to work with a refreshed body and mind. Try to finish on time and spend the rest of the day with your family.

For me, having something to look forward to is key to maintaining wellbeing. My co-workers are eager to meet me in person and I feel the exact same way. Use your circumstances to the best of your ability and ensure the focus is on your wellbeing. Today’s technology and virtual meetings are amazing tools if they’re used to enable positivity and connectivity.

I am happy to be a new member of an awesome team though never met them physically and I can’t wait to have a face-to-face meeting in the office, get back to bonding and enjoying a laugh over lunch with my associates.
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