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Guide to starting a job during COVID-19

Starting a new job during the COVID-19 pandemic may bring some new challenges to your working life


Written by SpunOut | View this authors Twitter page and posted in news


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If you are starting a new job, and depending on the type of job you are starting, you may have to work remotely or get used to new guidelines in your workplace to manage the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus).

Advice for starting a new job

It is very likely that your experience will be quite different to someone who would have started in the same job before the pandemic began. It’s important to keep this in mind and be patient with yourself. Starting a new job at any time can be challenging as well as exciting.

Ask about COVID-19 guidelines

If you are going to be interacting with members of the public, face to face, it’s good to be aware of what guidelines your employer has in place to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 (Coronavirus). Ask if you will need to wear a face mask, gloves or if you will have a protective screen between you and any customers. If you are concerned that the measures in place aren’t enough it could be a good idea to have a conversation with your employer highlighting this. The government has put together ‘Return to work safely’ guidelines which employers should be implementing.

Know your working rights

It’s important when you are starting a job to know what your rights are. When you sign an employment contract you should read it carefully and make sure it includes all the legal requirements of an employment contract. You should also be aware that if you are only working part-time hours you may be able to claim Jobseeker’s Allowance, although you must be 18 or over. If you had been getting the Pandemic Unemployment Payment, by law you must close your claim for this payment when starting a new job.

Prepare to be adaptable

There are restrictions that in place for many shops and businesses such as queuing systems and reduced space due to social distancing. Because of these, you may be asked to take on some tasks that you did not expect as part of the role. It’s good to be aware of this in advance so you are prepared. Your employers are probably getting used to the guidelines themselves and are having to adapt to new ways of working so be prepared that you may have to as well.

Give yourself time

Getting settled into a new job can take time. Be patient with yourself and take the time you need to get to know what’s involved in the role and getting to know those you work with. Remember, no one turns up on the first day and knows everything. Take in the information you can each day and you can always come back to things and ask questions if you need to.

Starting a new job from home

Keep a routine

If you are working from home in your new position try to start as you mean to go on. Settling into a new work routine will be important for you to keep a good work/life balance. You can also read our tips for staying focused while working from home.

Stay in touch with colleagues

Getting to know your colleagues when starting a new job is a good way to get settled in and feel more comfortable. This is likely to be a bit more challenging if you are working from home. It could be a good idea to get in touch with other members of the team and invite them to a virtual coffee so you can have a chat, get to know them and their role. Find out if there are already social video calls happening throughout the week that you can join or any other social groups within the organisation that it would be good to be part of.

Ask for support

It is important to reach out and ask for support in a new job if there is anything you are unsure about. Setting regular check-ins with your manager or other staff members can be a good way to do this. It will help you learn more about the organisation and support you to keep the lines of communication open between you and the rest of your colleagues. It is also a good way of keeping you on track with any goals you set for yourself within the role.

Feeling overwhelmed or anxious about starting a new job?

If you feel overwhelmed and need someone to talk to, our anonymous, 24 hour text line is always open. You're worth talking about and we're here to listen and support you.

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Published June 22nd2020
Can this be improved? Contact editor@spunout.ie if you have any suggestions for this article.
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