Given current work-from-home mandates across industries and jobs, management professor Trevor Foulk (firstname.lastname@example.org) and career and leadership coach Rachel Loock (rloock@Rhsmith.umd.edu) at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business can give success tips for telework newcomers.
Foulk: “In this environment, the single biggest piece of advice I would give to anybody – but especially a newcomer – is to engage in the practice of perspective-taking. Keep in mind that you’re not the only one stressed out by this situation – this is difficult for everyone. Having a new employee or teammate that you can’t see, coach, or get to know in person is also stressful for your new supervisor and coworkers…Don’t make assumptions. Ask what time people typically start and end their days, when you should be at your computer, and what you should wear. Ask your direct manager who would be the best to answer your questions.”
Loock: "If you're using a video conference platform, make sure you’re in a quiet area of your home, free of distractions. Have your camera at the right height, make sure the lighting is good – in front of you instead of behind – mute yourself when you’re not presenting, and be cognizant of your body language and facial expressions during the meeting…Pay attention. Listen and observe, maybe even more so than you would in an office space, because you’re not going to be there all day long – it might just be a weekly 30-minute Zoom meeting. Observe how your colleagues interact with one another and approach projects."
Foulk has studied the science of first impressions as his research expertise covers workplace incivility, organizational behavior and leadership. Loock provides career coaching to executive MBA students and alumni. She and her colleagues in Maryland Smith’s Office of Career Services have been advising students and professionals on how to stand out when starting a new position remotely.