Starting a new job is filled with excitement and uncertainty. Now, combine that with a global pandemic.
It was late February when I signed my offer with iQmetrix. I remember sitting at my kitchen table, thinking about how excited I was to join a company with a great culture, in a fascinating role. I was set to start March 23, 2020 and was truly enthusiastic for what was ahead.
On March 11, 2020, everything changed.
From speculation to decisive action
I watched as companies Canada-wide made decisions to act fast to prioritize safety and comply with government protocols. For some, that meant enabling their employees to work remotely; for others, that meant the difficult decision of shutting down completely. A looming thought suddenly became reality: would I still have a job?
Immediately after the March 11 announcement, the calls from iQmetrix started.
First, there was Marni, reassuring me I would still have a job. Then Allison, arranging for a time for me to pick up my laptop so that I could work remotely. Throughout, Krystal and Adam, making sure I felt connected leading up to day one. As well, many others working in the background, so that all job-offers could be honored.
At a time filled with so much uncertainty, how quickly the people of iQmetrix came together to offer support and reassurance to a new person was exceptional. I felt like part of the team, even before I started!
Working remotely is not the same as working remotely in the middle of a pandemic
Normally, when I start a new role at a new company, I like to set time for coffee or lunch with teammates and colleagues to get to know each other. I find meeting casually first creates connection and builds a good base to work together from. Knowing that I wouldn’t be able to do this, made me feel like I would have a harder time building bonds. Especially here, where people see each other for fun outside of work hours and happy hours typically last 3 hours. I wondered how it would feel to meet people virtually in a place that seemed as tight-knit as iQmetrix.
Cut to March 23, at 9:00 AM, I sat down at my kitchen table with my cup of coffee and opened my computer to start my first official day of work. Allison, our Office Manager, had scheduled a meeting with me to go over the basics. We chatted and observed how strange it was for me to be starting this way.
At a time filled with so much uncertainty, how quickly the people of iQmetrix came together to offer support and reassurance to a new person was exceptional.
As the day and weeks went on, I met and spoke with others. Everyone offered sincere acknowledgement of how bizarre it must feel to start a new job this way, and that although it was not easy, they were so happy to have me. The ongoing reassurance that I received was incredibly motivating!
There are three things that have made a big difference for me at iQmetrix since I first started:
- Virtual community: I have been attending Trivia Tuesdays since week one! It is a great way to meet others and forget that we are living in strange times. There are also Jackbox games, a virtual happy hour, and Friday workouts, to name a few. There is something for everyone, even remotely! To me, this has represented an opportunity to experience what the culture is like and to meet people from other teams, without stepping into the office.
- Starting meetings more casually: in this new world we live in, we are all experiencing pets in the background, children walking into our workspace, and unexpected partners popping open doors in the middle of calls. Although we aren’t physically close, in some ways, we are closer with our colleagues than we have ever been before. As someone new, this is an opportunity to ask about how work-from-home is going, and a unique chance to get to know things about colleagues that may otherwise take years to learn. Building buffer time into meetings to create space to get to know each other, especially for initial one-on-ones, is super valuable.
- Buddies: During my first week, I mentioned how great it would be to have a buddy, and a few days later, the team made it happen (hi, Margeaux!). All new hires starting remotely now also receive a buddy. I was matched with mine based on interests, making it easy to get to know each other. Margeaux brings me a sense of community outside of my direct team. Having a buddy has been like having access to an immediate friend at iQmetrix (albeit, a friend I’ve never met in person). I recommend this regardless of level at an organization. Especially during these times, ‘a little help from a friend’ can have a big impact.
This experience has been filled with unique learning opportunities, constantly testing adaptability and flexibility for all of us.
A lot of Zoom calls and a lot of gratitude
As I reflect on what is ahead, I think about what it will be like to go to the office for the first time. I can picture the moment, of finally taking the elevator up to the second floor, walking through the doors, and meeting my co-workers in person. Even just thinking about it, I feel a sense of joy. I wonder: will people be tall? Short? Height is hard to accurately identify during virtual calls! Regardless, I know I’ll feel a sense of relief and excitement as I finally get to meet my Winnipeg colleagues, and eventually travel to other offices to meet the rest.
For now, I am grateful for the trust and support iQmetrix has provided me and all new hires during these unique times. Switching on-boarding to be fully remote, overnight, is not easy. This team though, is excelling in uncertainty and the unknown.