I joined LinkedIn 4 months ago remotely, during the pandemic. Remote work is not a new thing for software engineers. Being at Priceline for seven years, it was almost like being in the office. I knew everyone, and we continued business as usual, just not in person.
Joining a new company over zoom is a different thing. It felt like drinking from a firehose. I'm impressed by how the onboarding team organized the experience. They did a fantastic job of making new hires feel welcome, and the whole day was interactive with a structured plan. But I'm still in Connecticut, 3 hours ahead of everyone else in California, sitting at home.
When I joined my team and went through introductions within the next few days, that's when it hit me how difficult it is to navigate the maze remotely. As a manager, I want to build relationships with my team and colleagues and know the product, challenges, goals. The more meetings and interactions I had, the more I learned how to improve the effectiveness of the video conversations. I had a minimal context of what was going on, so the pressure was to figure it out as soon as possible.
I wrote a post on effective ways to improve remote communication based on my experience in this period. It may seem obvious, but not everything is crystal clear when you struggle with that much information coming your way every interaction.
It took me 3-4 months to acclimate to the new environment and get to know my team and the landscape. Now I feel more comfortable, but remote communication stays the struggle for me and many people everywhere. We get more tired from video calls compared to in-person interactions. We get more meetings because you loose "at your desk" interactions. We have a network and sound issues. Kids are running and screaming. It's not the same, but we all are humans. And humans are great at adapting to new environments. We make it work.
Be mindful that everyone has unique circumstances while working from home. It's not just kids or pets that can make it difficult. You never know how difficult it is for someone where they are. Be patient when someone is late, unavailable, or is having technical difficulties. Put extra effort to avoid misunderstandings and improve the efficiencies of your meetings.