Joining a new company can be daunting at the best of times, but anyone onboarding during the COVID-19 pandemic will probably experience a whole new meaning to first day jitters. When I woke up on day 1 at Thoughtworks, whilst I was grateful for the short commute from my bed to my laptop, I was nervous about the prospect of starting a job remotely. How would I get to know my colleagues? I was conscious that, whilst Zoom interaction is great, adding a Zoom meeting into someone’s calendar is a very intentional thing to do, whilst catching up with someone at the coffee machine and having a chat about the weekend is how you can get to know many people at the office.
I had just moved into a new place, I was working through my hotspot on my phone and my desk hadn’t even arrived yet. Despite all of these environmental struggles, the induction couldn’t have gone more smoothly. There were a few of us on the 3 day induction calls. We were on pretty much back-to-back calls during the day with some breaks in between to find out more about the other new-starters. There was a lot to fit into the induction but by the end of it I felt I had an excellent grasp of Thoughtworks and the company values. It was nice to feel connected and comfortable after the nerves settled. Now it was time to really get stuck into my role and I couldn’t wait.
My first couple of days in my role were so stimulating. Despite being 100% remote, I felt welcomed by my fellow Thoughtworkers. I had regular catch ups with members of my team, my training was thorough, in-depth and clear. I felt that my voice was heard from the first day I started at Thoughtworks. For example, I pretty immediately got stuck into working on volume 22 of the Technology Radar. I gave my ideas and feedback for online promotion and could feel that these were being considered and taken on board. As a graduate, this was something I felt was so important as imposter syndrome is very real! Despite experience or level, at Thoughtworks there is a real sense of togetherness and a non-hierarchical culture. I felt I could speak out and I would be listened to.
My colleagues were all aware of the weirdness of starting a job during lockdown. Everyone was pretty much in the same boat as the whole company was transitioning to a 100% remote workforce. It was (and still is) a scary time for everyone. I felt a huge lack of control and anxiety about the state of the world. My team made sure that I knew I had somewhere to turn to if I had any worries or troubles. Just having someone mention that it must be odd to start during the lockdown made me feel a sense of relief. They got it. They understood that it was going to be tricky. I felt that I wasn’t alone, and Thoughtworks’ inclusive culture meant that I felt a kind of security blanket of knowing that I was surrounded by people who care about others’ mental health. This made it so much easier to reach out if I ever was struggling.
My colleagues and I after the launch of the Technology Radar volume 23
Since then, I have fallen into my role and I love it. I have faced challenges. As I work remotely, I don’t have the luxury of being able to connect with Thoughtworkers face-to-face, or able to get a fresh pair of eyes on something quickly ad hoc. However, there are perks to working at home too! I get more free time to go walking, I can play music on my speaker all day and do YouTube Pilates at lunch.
My favourite aspect of working at Thoughtworks is the people. I feel that people are genuinely cared about and the culture of inclusivity is SO important today. I feel that this is something that aligns with my views and values. Despite having never met them, I do feel I know my colleagues. Many are based internationally and I have built connections with others, even when working remotely. I really do feel like a Thoughtworker. I am so looking forward to meeting up with people after the great pause and saying goodbye to COVID-19.
Disclaimer: The statements and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the positions of Thoughtworks.