A new job in a virtual world – top tips to succeed: Savanna Allport

I am a year out of university and am extremely fortunate to have just secured my first full-time job in PR after a 3-month internship. My interview, internship and the start of my full-time position at Stature PR have occurred entirely online. It is quite surreal to think that I have never met my colleagues in person, a situation that is unlikely to change for the foreseeable future. When I graduated in December 2019, I can honestly say that I never thought I would be in this position, like the majority of graduates I assumed I would be working in a physical office with actual people and not from my living room and through video chat.  Before starting my internship, I felt daunted and definitely confused – how was this all going to work, how was I going to get my tasks, what if I needed help with something.  

To complicate things further when I went to visit my parents for Christmas in Kenya, the situation took another strange turn when the UK went into its third national lock down. I was advised to delay my return to the UK and now I am working virtually abroad in a different time zone. Apart from the occasional frustrations when I am not able to participate in town outings, it is surprisingly the same, which is made easier by being in contact with the team and feeling that I am not alone. 

What I have learned is that the key to succeeding when starting a job virtually is communication.  I feel that I’ve really landed on my feet and am so lucky to be working with the team; if I email, MS Teams message or call, there will always be someone available to provide the guidance I need, as a new graduate to do the job properly. Despite the virtual working I have learned a huge amount in a short period and feel that I have already grown as a PR Assistant. 

Memorable moment:

While working remotely, it is important to still feel like you are personally connected with your team. As someone who has recently started a job remotely, a moment I felt I engaged with my fellow colleagues was the work Christmas party towards the end of my internship last year. Although in a virtual environment, it was my first ever work Christmas party, and despite having only been working with the company for a few months and having never met anyone in physical form, I felt I had been a part of the company for years – talking, laughing and participating in the festive decoration activities with everyone. 

Top 5 tips for starting a new job in a virtual environment: 

1) Ask a lot of questions: Don’t be afraid to message or call a colleague if you have a question or need clarification – it’s very easy to find someone in an office and ask them what you need, but it can feel daunting having to ask people something in a non-face-to-face situation, especially when you haven’t met them in person. But the circumstances are the same, the company is not going to want you to struggle and they will be keen for you to enjoy what you do, so your colleagues will always be open to help when it’s needed.  

2) Set boundaries: Whether you have been with a company for a long time or are just starting out, going from an office to setting to working virtually is hard for anybody – It can be very easy to burn out. It’s vital to distinguish separate areas within your house for work and relaxation and find some way to create a feeling of going to work and finishing your day.  

3) Wifi: Having a strong internet connection is paramount to be able to get anything done.

4) Chat about personal stuff: To make sure you still feel connected to your work team and the “office”, you can build rapport with a colleague to engage in non-work conversations intermittently throughout the day. It’s nice to feel like you are not alone and have someone from work to talk to.  

5)Time to chill: Working remotely, during a pandemic and in lock down, you will be sitting a lot and staring at your computer screen for hours on end. Make sure to take a break every now and then from your chair and screen, stretch your legs and give your eyes a rest.  


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