Overcoming the challenges new hires face in a remote environment

Jun 3, 2021

Without a doubt, the novel coronavirus has affected all of our personal, social, and professional lives in one way or another. At the beginning of the pandemic, there was a great deal of concern and uncertainty around returning to the office; however, remote work has certainly become the new normal. In fact, it may have even permanently changed the perceptions and values people have around the workplace in the future. 

According to one article on employees’ perspectives on working conditions, research found that the majority of workers never want to return  to a traditional way of working, and 72% prefer a hybrid remote-office model (Fogarty et al., 2020). The Montreal Gazette stated in one issue that most Montrealers are looking forward to their return to the office, yet 67% of survey respondents stated they would like to continue working remotely most of the time. (Tomesco, 2021). 

What was once a privilege for a minority of individuals is now a widespread phenomenon across occupations. Because of all the advantages of remote work, a large majority of employers are considering remote work as an option in the future. The benefits include, but are not limited to: 

  • Reduced or eliminated commute time to and from work

  • More independence and flexibility

  • Increased productivity and creativity

  • Increased connectivity with co-workers

  • Physical and mental comfortability

Although it’s been an adjustment for some to shift their work online, interns and recent graduates just starting their professional career are experiencing a unique set of challenges. 

The common expectations of young professionals are now hindered by isolation and limited physical interactions with co-workers. Activities that would normally take place daily and in person (i.e. interviews, meet and greets, seminars, and spontaneous interactions) have lost their personal touch. New hires typically have very little experience in an office; as a result, they're now missing out on important opportunities to experience - first hand,  office culture. The office environment is a crucial place for new employees to meet people, build relationships with colleagues, explore their interests, and get an overall sense of direction for their career ahead. 

Young professionals beginning their careers also require a great deal of guidance and support when onboarding, as assigned tasks and projects are unfamiliar to them. At times, it can be difficult to shadow the work of co-workers and integrate them into the office culture when it’s not possible to be physically present in an office. The learning experience that comes from a physical office space is unfortunately absent for new hires right now due to the unprecedented circumstances we are facing today. 

At TELUS, the transition toward a remote operation was immediate, as a good portion of our workforce was already familiar with remote work. With our robust Work Styles program that extends to virtually all new hires, we have proven that remote onboarding can be successful and easy for everyone. We recognize that for new hires, a remote working environment may be difficult to navigate at first; however, we offer a wide range of technology, communication tools, and support in order to help our team members succeed. 

If you’re a new hire starting remotely within a new company, here are some recommendations to improve your experience: 

Designate an appropriate workspace

Setting up a desk in an area of your home where there are minimal distractions will help mimic the environment of an office. It can encourage a sense of routine or structure that’s important for new graduates entering the workforce. A quiet workspace can also help you stay focused and productive between the start and end of the workday.  

Log important information and set goals

This is a crucial component for the day’s structure and organization. Logging important dates, events, and deadlines will keep you updated and informed on all the ongoing projects. Jotting down notes during a meeting or keeping a journal handy is useful for learning and recalling information. Goal setting is also very important - no matter how minor the task. Setting daily or weekly goals is key in determining what tasks need to be accomplished.

Stay connected

Lastly, it's essential to stay connected after meeting new people in order to build relationships with co-workers. As a new hire, one way of achieving this is to ask team members if they need support on upcoming projects that are of interest to you. Setting weekly team calls with a supervisor is another way of staying connected. To build more personal relationships, aim to connect with others via video conferencing instead of relying on instant messaging.

For more information on how we can support your organization’s flexible work strategy, please reach out to [email protected]


Fogarty, P., Frantz, S., Hirschfeld, J., Keating, S., Lafont, E., Lufkin, B., Mishael, R., Ponnavolu, V., Savage, M., Turits, M. (2020, March 9). Coronavirus: How the world of work may change forever. Retrieved March 9, 2021, from https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20201023-coronavirus-how-will-the-pandemic-change-the-way-we-work

Tomesco, F. (2021, March 3). Working from home loses some of its lustre as Montreal workers crave reconnection. Retrieved March 16, 2021, from https://montrealgazette.com/business/local-business/real-estate/working-from-home-loses-its-lustre-as-montreal-workers-crave-reconnection

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