My manager at DuPont set up everything in advance: my laptop, accounts, an email address, … Everything was well prepared, which made my start quite smooth. What really made the difference to me was that despite the current circumstances I was able to onboard in person (while of course respecting all social distancing measures).
I believe you need to be flexible as well: optimize the time you have, and be able to quickly adapt when things change. For example: my manager is very busy right now and his availability is limited. That’s why I asked for ‘reading material’ right away. That way, when things changed and he didn’t have time for me right away, I still had plenty of things to do in my downtime.
As mentioned before, I’ve asked and received a lot of reading material in advance. An organigram, the project charter, examples of excel files I’ll be working on, … This was helpful to get familiar with the context of my project, and allowed me to get “up and running” more quickly.
I also got a presentation of all my team members with their pictures – it’s nice to (literally) see the person behind the name or the email address.
Of course, it’s always nicer to meet your colleagues in person: there’s nothing like a spontaneous coffee or watercooler conversation to get to know your colleague’s in an informal way.
Next to that, it can be challenging to set up meetings these days: a great deal of the company works from home now and the agenda of my colleagues are packed with calls. As a « rookie » it’s not always easy to find a moment to meet.
Because of the circumstances my manager and I only meet at the office when his schedule has a few empty timeslots. This tends to be once or twice a week. Working from home up to three days a week, while starting out, means a lot of independence. I use my homeworking days for deep diving into more detailed or complex tasks, while using my collaboration time with my manager to ask any possible questions, figure out what the next steps are, or get a more high level oversight of my tasks.
While doing so, I noticed this gave me more flexibility to plan these first days. For example: I can do errands at 16 when my manager is not available, but I’m easily reachable at 19h when he has time. This enables me to adapt better to the situation and optimize our time together