Trends and Insight in association withSynapse Virtual Production

Starting From Home: What It's Like to Begin a New Job During Lockdown

London, UK
Social media strategist and content producer at NERD Productions, Ornella Kolle, describes how to manage expectations after embarking on a new adventure during the global pandemic
Starting a new job is usually nerve-wracking, yet, if the Prime Minister announces that a national lockdown will take effect on your first day, due to a global pandemic, that definitely adds an extra layer of anxiety.

Prior to Coronavirus getting cosy in the UK, I had been following how the pandemic unfolded in different parts of the world, and in all honesty, I didn’t think that Europe would get hit that badly. Never in a million years I would have thought 2020 would be the year of the whole world getting shut down. When Milana texted me on Sunday evening that I should be working from home on my first day, I was devastated. I had planned to work from home anyway, as soon as she mentioned in my interview "I don’t mind where you’re working from, you could be working from Mars, as long as the work is getting done, it makes no difference where from!" I knew that flexible working was at the heart of NERD Productions, and I was here for it!

- Artwork by Skeeva

But there’s a difference between picking and choosing the days you’d be working from home, and not being able to meet your team on your first day. Although I felt supported and was made very welcome by the team, for the first few days, my anxiety went through the roof. Until now, I had never had the opportunity to work from home and while it comes with a few challenges, a few months in, I am completely mastering this lifestyle (I think). I have learned so many different things since I started this new adventure, and I am pleased to give my all to a company that shares the same values.

The first few weeks, my brain wasn’t taking the news so well and I started doubting what I could and couldn’t do and it was impossible for me to switch off. I allowed myself to feel all the feels, and once I was done mulling over the situation, I decided to put a plan in action.
- Artwork by Tom-Tinn Disbury

Stay positive
I haven't suppressed any feelings I had during these times and I am making sure that I am not venting to my team either. Everyone has a different sensibility to what is currently happening, especially because I am new to the team, I don’t want to overwhelm them with negative feelings from a stranger. Instead, I have picked up the phone, send emails sharing positivity and happiness. I have tried to be as encouraging as possible to my new family, setting-up workshops, catch-ups, and telling funny jokes.

- Illustration by Corinne Ladeinde

Chat away 
I am an ambivert, which means that I enjoy my own company but also love spending time with others. This situation has been great, as I love having time for myself - I have had plenty over the past few months. Although I also enjoy chatting with others, interaction with people is my energy ball. I have had hours of meaningful and small chats with people I have never really met. It's strange, it's like online dating, instead, you're getting to know your colleagues virtually. I just hope the newbie awkwardness has set off now, and I won't feel shy meeting them IRL. For now, I can truly say, I
have work buddies!

- Animation by Volstok

Make time for things that keep you happy and motivated
At first, I felt the need to stay in front of the computer for hours and started having terrible headaches and eyesight troubles. My productivity started to improve once I had integrated within my day, painting, hula hooping, baking and cooking, sunbathing, and taking pictures. It’s super important not to feel forced to spend every second in front of the screen to prove that the work is getting done. I always take some time for myself and it has been the perfect kick to working with a clutter-free brain.

- Artwork by Toast

Manage expectations 
NERD Productions had been set up to work remotely and it shows! I haven't had much trouble settling in my new role. Throughout these past weeks, I have learned to manage expectations, practice active listening because even with all the good intentions in the world, I just can't tap on someone's shoulder to ask a quick question. I am trying my best to set up achievable goals and make sure objectives are met to keep myself going.

- Artwork by Marcos Chin

This is not a time to overwork yourself though, so don't push yourself too hard and take care of your mental state.

- Ornella Kolle, NERD Productions
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