Generation Hybrid Work
HOW THE “NEW NORM” HASN’T CHANGED HOW NEW STARTERS CAN SET THEMSELVES UP FOR SUCCESS.
For many of us who started our careers during the COVID-19 pandemic, we had to learn the fundamentals of our roles virtually after just finishing our virtual degrees. In an instant, many went from studying online to being thrust into a corporate work environment without any prior knowledge or exposure. After recently reaching a milestone of my first year at WE Communications, and by extension the first year in the industry, I've come to learn (and see) how other new starters in this position have navigated entry into the professional world.
Here are my 3 tips for career success - from one newbie to another!
1. BE OPEN AND CONSTANT IN COMMUNICATION WITH YOUR TEAM AND COLLEAGUES.
Open and constant communication is important regardless of whether you are working from home or in the office, but it is especially important for virtual working. When starting work virtually, there isn't the opportunity for spontaneous “water cooler” conversations, learning through osmosis or watching and overhearing your colleagues.
Asking questions is probably the most important part you can play in open communication. No matter how silly or how obvious it may be, putting your hand up and asking questions allows you to take advantage of the vast libraries of knowledge and experience that makes up the coworkers around you. Many of us, including myself, may find that constantly asking questions is a bother to those around you, but it also helps them better understand you and how you work.
The challenge with being new and asking questions is sometimes you don’t know what you don’t know. But if you continue to be curious and listen intently, you may pick up on things that others around you didn’t realise. Put your hand up to do things you haven’t before (which may be everything). The saying goes, “The more I learn, the less I know,” and that’s exactly what we’re aiming for.
2. YOUR TEAM ARE YOUR BIGGEST ADVOCATES AND MENTORS.
A supportive team is crucial during the foundational stages of your career. A supportive team should be curious about who you are, beyond your work and educational experience. They should actively involve you in discussions and projects and ask you questions about what you would like to do and what you see yourself doing. Little things like frequent check-in’s regarding how you are feeling, or “Happy Mondays” are great ways to feel connected and supported. Your team should care about your growth and well-being just as much as you do.
These things apply to both virtual and hybrid working. Something I really appreciated when I first started virtually, was the extra effort the team made to make everyone feel included. I have fond memories of a virtual ‘paint and sip’ session where we collectively struggled to paint and laughed at random facts about each other. To this day, our Monday morning team meetings always start with a recap of everyone’s weekends. Things like this set the tone for how you collaborate with your team in the workplace and build connections.
3. FOCUS LESS ON WHAT YOU THINK YOU SHOULD BE AND INSTEAD WORK WITH WHAT YOU ARE.
When you’re in an environment where most people around you have been working for a lot longer than you have, it may feel overwhelming and like you’re playing a constant catch-up game. Your subconscious expectations of yourself may make you internalise major imposter syndrome.
Overcoming such feelings may take time, but a good way to fast-track the process is to find a mentor, someone who is not directly tied to the work that you do and someone who you feel you can speak to honestly and confidentially
At WE Communications, we have developed a great mentorship program, where employees at all levels can opt-in to be a mentee or a mentor. I’ve found that a mentor who has experience can help you better put things into perspective. If your workplace does not have a formal mentorship program, you can actively find someone yourself, by reaching out to a colleague whom you admire/want to be like.
Remember there is no shame in being new; we all have to start somewhere. Treat yourself with patience and walk forward at your own pace and don’t start running before you learn to walk.
Starting work in a hybrid work environment might feel different, but the fundamentals of how to develop your career aren’t. I’ve had the pleasure of working with one of the most supportive teams here at WE. I couldn’t be more #WeProud to be here and I hope to continue to be able to grow and learn in a place that meets you where you are, just as I hope my fellow new starters will find their places as well.
Thinking about getting a start in your Public Relations career? Check out what WE has to offer here.