Editor’s note: Tania Ryan, the new Support Coordinator in our Brisbane office, volunteered to give us an insight into the challenges of starting a new job while confined to home. She writes:
There is always excitement, tinged with trepidation, as you start your new job on the first day; starting a new job during a global pandemic further adds to the mix of emotions.
Day One was not your normal first day on the job. For starters, I didn’t leave the house; I had the best car park; I also knew which of the two coffee shops down the road provided the best coffee; where the amenities were and how to escape the building if there was a fire alarm.
What I didn’t know was the culture of the company, how everyone interacted, what was expected of me and who was who in the business.
Gaia Resources already had their Business Continuity Plan in place for a few weeks before I joined and the team had all chosen to transition to a ‘work from home’ solution to the COVID-19 shutdown.
The executive team had run surveys and feedback sessions to understand what would be helpful for everyone to work from home. The way Gaia managed the changing environment by engaging the team really resonated with me. There were morning video coffee chats set up; a simple emoji ‘whereabouts log’ created, and an end of week discussion and survey to check-in to ensure everyone was OK.
So, what are the main differences from starting a new job in an office compared to working from home? Well firstly, you don’t normally stand at the front of an office and meet everyone at once as you do in a video call; there is no way to listen and observe the intricate social interactions, which often create the working relationships; and it’s hard to know what is expected without asking those awkward questions. Gaia Resources has made great efforts to accommodate these communications.
The video chats and calls are created in a relaxed environment with humour and good nature, which helps the meetings flow. My first group team meeting, where my screen was filled with new faces, did not feel as overwhelming as I had expected. Everyone took the time to say hi, introduce themselves and explain a little more of their background.
I was teamed up with a mentor and a team buddy, and having them both to hand gave me a sense of direction and understanding, helping me ease into my new role. My mentor, who is in fact the company’s CEO Piers Higgs, provided the guidance and encouragement for me to excel and grow quickly within the team. There were lots of opportunities for me to clarify meeting outcomes and provide post-meeting feedback, which ensured I didn’t feel isolated. In fact, the new working day interspersed with video calls and chats is actually starting to feel like a normal workday!
Another big factor to working from home when starting a new job is ensuring you are staying healthy by exercising and having family time. It is a little too easy to work and not know what is acceptable for the start and end of the day. Having the ‘whereabouts log’ was reassuring in that everyone is aware of their wellbeing and that there still needs to be a division between work and home life.
I have been impressed with how Gaia Resources has transitioned their company (which has staff in Perth, Brisbane and Darwin) into a productive work-from-home solution so successfully. With such support and direction, I plan to be working with them for many years to come.
Thank you, and welcome Tania! If you would like to know about Gaia Resources response to the COVID-19 shutdown, please contact us directly via email, or drop us a note on our social media channels: Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.