Starting a new role can be daunting at the best of times, but what about starting a new role as being part of the LGBT+ community under national lockdown? That’s what I was faced with starting a new job at CityFibre during the middle of the UK’s third national lockdown.
In the first couple of weeks, I had planned on meeting with the new team, getting loads of reading and research done and completing all my induction modules and paperwork– standard stuff when starting a new position at a new company. But none of that took a global pandemic and national lockdown into consideration!
What has been your experience of starting a new job, during lockdown?
Starting a new job during the lockdown has definitely been interesting! Even from the interview stage, preparing and wondering if your rural broadband would be able to cope with the call, being in the countryside on low connection speeds and increased demand with everyone working from home. However, I am glad to say it did! I must say it was a little more relaxed in the sense of there being a distance between me and the interviewers and being in a familiar and comfortable environment, rather than in the office boardroom setting. I can remember thinking that the interview went well, but still prepared myself for bad news. However, 2 hours later I had been offered the position, I was certainly one happy man!
Once my start date was confirmed, I worried about how I was going to collect my computer and equipment from the office with all the restrictions in place at the time. It would be a surreal experience seeing my future office for the first time; seats empty, silence, and imagining what it might have looked like before the world had been swept by COVID-19. However, I received my computer and equipment to my home and had my first meeting with my line manager via teams. This first virtual meeting I must say went very well and we got along fantastically. I couldn’t have asked for a better line manager, she helped me set up all the necessary IT, and I began working that afternoon from home.
How have you settled in, while working remotely?
A big and important part of this new position was the community element and interaction with fellow colleges and team members. Being a part of the LGBT + community, I am always dubious about starting a new position, would the team be accepting? Would they be happy working alongside a LGBT colleague? And lastly, how I generally would fit into the team and department, which can be challenging in person at the best of times, never mind virtually. Now looking back, I realize it certainly was nothing to be worried about. I was warmly welcomed by everyone from day one and, whilst it’s was not the same as working in an office, there is an amazing support network in place.
In previous job roles, I am used to working autonomously, just getting my head down and getting on with what needs to be done. However, lockdown gave me a real feeling of being separate and isolated from everyone and everything. I found at CityFibre, from day one, if I needed help, a friendly face and a voice of reason was just a video call away!
I had my first meeting with my team quickly after I started. The team I must say gave me a very warm welcome and have been nothing but very friendly, accepting, and helpful. There is a great dynamic between all members, which over the weeks has only developed from strength to strength. Through daily calls and meetings in the workday, but also pub quiz nights in the evenings. I would now consider them the newest additions to my friendship group.
I don’t feel I have to hide any part of who I am to fit in, which has been a welcome change as this hasn’t always been the case before coming to CityFibre. As the weeks went by, I was introduced to many other colleagues, I began to realize how modern and progressive the company was with the heavy emphasis on personal wellbeing, networking, inclusion, and mental health. Which very much surprised me. I think this sets CityFibre apart from other companies and shows they really care for their staff and their wellbeing. From the daily check-ins to keep the social nature of office working going. As well as to keeping up to date with work alongside multiple weekly meetings about what is going on in the wider organization from work related updates to wellbeing via The Loop; those small updates and general interaction are equivalent to what you share when making your tea or coffee in the kitchen.
Through happy hours, home tours and random check-ins, my team showed me that a virtual community was possible.
Senior members of the city teams and my department have been very receptive to me when I have reached out to them for help and guidance. I have been surprised with how willing and dedicated they are to helping and connecting me to others at CityFibre. I am looking forward to eventually putting faces to all the people who I have worked with, and who have helped me and welcomed me throughout this lockdown period.
I know a lot of people work in remote teams and start new jobs from a home office, but that wasn’t what I was expecting to do, so it was not an experience I was necessarily prepared for. It has been interesting to say the least, not always easy, but I’ve been so fortunate to have been made feel so welcome and to have felt that I have managed to contribute something positive from day one!