Starting a New Job Remotely: The Inside Scoop From Swanky’s Newest Faces

03/09/2020, Marketing, Han Dickson

Starting a new job is nerve-racking enough, let alone in the middle of a global pandemic. We’ve spoken to the latest additions to our Swanky family in order to find out what it’s really like being a new starter in a remote working team.

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With a large percentage of us now working from home due to COVID-19, virtual onboarding has become the new normal for many businesses. Starting a new job remotely may have its challenges, such as building relationships with colleagues completely online, yet there can also be countless positives to the experience.

 

At Swanky, our team has continued to grow exponentially throughout the pandemic. We’ve interviewed four of our newest employees to find out what it’s really like to take on a brand new remote-working role.

 

So, let’s meet our new Swanky starters!

 

Georgia Jones: Joined 1st June 2020

 

 

Which Swanky team have you joined?

 

The Growth Accelerator team.

 

What is your role? What does it involve?

 

I work as a Junior Project Manager, which involves being the in-between for clients and our internal team. I help the main Project Managers set deadlines, expectations and essentially streamline work. It’s a pretty hands-on role, so my day could involve anything from administration, client meetings, researching and recommending fixes to code installations.  

 

Has the onboarding experience been what you expected? If different, how?

 

The onboarding experience was always going to be different to anything I’d done before, as it was fully online. I found that it was both harder and easier than when I’ve previously started out at a new place. I could wake up earlier and get more done, but I also didn’t have the accelerated learning curve that comes with being surrounded by Swanky’s experts. 

 

Have you come across any positives to remote working?

 

I’ve found loads of positives to remote working! I can get started with my day a lot earlier, as I don’t have to commute. I can go for runs during lunch or after work which is a change! Because I work from my room, I can also fill it with exactly what I want – currently, I have a wall filled with colour-coded sticky notes related to individual client tasks, a mini calendar, a second weekly calendar and too many highlighters to count!

 

What has been the biggest challenge with starting a new job remotely?

 

The biggest challenge is definitely not being surrounded by Swanky people! There’s lots of ways to get to know everyone online still, such as our weekly Kahoot quizzes and various catch-up calls, so there is still that fun and friendly element of Swanky that I enjoy… but being in an office would make that all easier!

 

Can you give any advice to someone interested in, or concerned about, applying for a remote working job?

 

My advice would be to definitely apply and go for it. A remote working job, especially in a supportive, close-knit company like Swanky, can be heaps of fun – I know I enjoyed setting up my own office-from-home space and I appreciate the fact that not only am I more productive, but I also can do more after the work is done.

 

Describe what a typical day of working from home looks like to you.

 

I usually wake up around 7.30am and make some breakfast and, of course, the first tea of the day. I start at around 8am and spend an hour focussing on administrative tasks, from getting notes together for client meetings, a fiddly bit of code installation to even researching a new subscription model a client is interested in, before the meetings kick off. The meetings are usually internal check-ins with our Growth Accelerator department, followed by client catch ups. I usually take lunch around 12.30 and squeeze in a run or a cycle before my next meeting. 

 

Depending on the day, the afternoon could be non-stop, filled with ideation workshops, client meetings or third party app learning, or fairly free, in which case I’ll catch up on tasks and prepare for the next day! I usually finish around 5pm, which leaves time for a swim or a run if I didn’t get time at lunch, or a socially distanced catch-up with friends in town.

 

Leah Holland: Joined 8th June 2020

 

 

Which Swanky team have you joined?

 

Most of my time is with the Growth Accelerator team, although I am also involved in New Builds.

 

What is your role? What does it involve?

 

I’m a Data and Analytics Manager – using data to generate customer insight.

 

Has the onboarding experience been what you expected? If different, how?

 

The onboarding process felt more natural than expected. The team videos really helped me to tie faces, names and job titles together, and I was lucky enough to speak to every member of the team on a one-to-one basis within my first couple of weeks.

 

Have you come across any positives to remote working?

 

In offices, there are usually people walking around or chatting, so I have found it easier to concentrate because I am in control of my working environment.

 

What has been the biggest challenge with starting a new job remotely?

 

It’s much more difficult to share knowledge because conversations are more formal and structured.

 

Can you give any advice to someone interested in, or concerned about, applying for a remote working job?

 

Make sure you have a designated workspace containing everything you will need for the day – it will make you more productive and it will make it easier to relax after work. 

 

Describe what a typical day of working from home looks like to you.

 

My routine hasn’t changed all that much now that I’m working from home. The main difference is that I am able to spend the time which would have been my commute on exercising (and sometimes a little more sleep!).

 

Justine Ronjat: Joined 3rd August 2020

 

 

Which Swanky team have you joined?

 

The New Builds team.

 

What is your role? What does it involve?

 

I’m a QA Web Tester – I check that the websites work and look as intended and report any bugs I might find.

 

Has the onboarding experience been what you expected? If different, how?

 

It mostly has. Since we’re working remotely, I wasn’t expecting anything like on-boardings I’ve had in the past. Everything is online. Meeting people in an online meeting is different from meeting people in an office.

 

Have you come across any positives to remote working?

 

No travel time! It’s also nice to be in a quiet environment sometimes.

 

What has been the biggest challenge with starting a new job remotely?

 

It can be hard not to get distracted sometimes.

 

Can you give any advice to someone interested in, or concerned about, applying for a remote working job?

 

I was a bit nervous initially but it’s been going great! It’s definitely different from working in an office, but you get used to it.

 

Describe what a typical day of working from home looks like to you.

 

I usually start work at 9am. I work at a desk in my flat on a laptop, with an external keyboard and mouse. Mornings are usually meetings with my teams to stay up-to-date with everything. I get started on some work in the morning if I have time, have lunch around 12 and my time after lunch is usually just me doing my work. Usually, I finish my days around 5/5:30.

 

Mark Halliwell: Joined 10th August 2020

 

 

Which Swanky team have you joined?

 

The New Builds team.

 

What is your role? What does it involve?

 

I’m a UX/UI Designer – I define the most effective user journeys and overall digital experiences for users. I also make sure that brands engage with their audiences, and clearly communicate their worth through their websites.

 

Has the onboarding experience been what you expected? If different, how?

 

It was surprisingly quick, everyone has been incredibly welcoming and have done everything to onboard me as swiftly as possible.

 

Have you come across any positives to remote working?

 

Definitely, there’s a real sense of independence, and with enough support/contact with colleagues to bounce ideas around it’s actually very similar to being in a studio.

 

What has been the biggest challenge with starting a new job remotely?

 

Separating work and home, I’ve set out a clear workspace to help with that, which helps.

 

Can you give any advice to someone interested in, or concerned about, applying for a remote working job?

 

I’d always say give it a go, I’ve never worked remotely before and was slightly worried about not being as well connected with colleagues, but I’ve actually found the opposite to be true at Swanky! If done right, it can be as effective, if not more, than working in a studio. But there’s only one way to find out, so give it a go.

 

Describe what a typical day of working from home looks like to you.

 

I get started at 9am, meet for a Design standup and catch-up with the wider New Builds team to plan for the day, then get stuck in and make it happen throughout the day. 

 

Find out more

 

A big thanks to Georgia, Leah, Justine and Mark for sharing their experiences of what it’s like starting a new job remotely.

 

Check out our round-up of home working hacks for more tips from team Swanky!

 

Your Shopify Plus agency

 

We may be working from home, but we’re still busy working away on projects as usual! 

 

To find out more about how Swanky’s team of Shopify Plus experts could help transform your ecommerce store with strategic consultation and bespoke development work, get in touch today. 

 

Looking to update and grow your ecommerce store?

Swanky is an end-to-end Shopify Plus partner agency, with offices in the UK and Australia. As a leading ecommerce agency for design, development and growth services, we have spent years delivering innovative digital solutions that elevate our clients to the forefront of their industries. We’re committed to accelerating the growth of ambitious brands through the delivery of creative digital solutions and outstanding customer experiences.

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About the author

Han Dickson

As part of Swanky’s Agency Marketing team, Han enjoys creating visual and written content about all things ecommerce. She is the video virtuoso behind our Ecommerce Spotlight and Tips in Ten YouTube series, helping online retailers navigate the ever-changing world of ecommerce with tips and tricks from our tech partners.

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