Working from home tips UK: my experience of starting my first job at home - and what you can expect

With remote working here to stay, many new graduates are set to start their careers working from home. Here’s what to expect

Last summer, I graduated from university with the disappointment of no graduation and entering a very rocky pandemic job market.

When the job hunt finally became successful after many Zoom interviews, I had to face entering my very first job and starting my career all from the spare room at home. Let’s just say it was far from what I had imagined starting my first job post-uni would look like.

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Many 2020 graduates experienced this last year and it is now time for some of this year’s students to take their turn.

Here’s my experience, what you can expect, and the true ups and downs of entering the world of work all from the comfort of your own home.

My experience

Even though I started my first job after university at home, it was still as daunting as starting a new job in the ‘normal’ world. The nerves of what I would be doing, what the days would be like, who my new colleagues would be and the doubt of whether I would be good enough, all started to kick-in.

However, being at home gave me comfort. Being in my own surroundings made me calmer and I enjoyed meeting new people virtually, learning the job online and not having to commute.

I really enjoyed working from home and still enjoy it now.

But the disadvantages it has brought to graduates like me who have entered the world of work from home started to creep up on me.

The lack of social interaction, meeting people in person and not having the office environment made me feel quite isolated and struggling with motivation - particularly when meetings were off-camera.

Thoughts of returning back to the office sparked anxiety and that’s when it dawned on me it wasn’t all rosy to be working from the comforts of my own home.

There are freedoms and benefits but it definitely put me on a fine line of forgetting what the real life of work is like as I hadn’t known anything different.

Overall, my experience of starting my first job at home was very positive. It was only as the months crawled on that I began to realise the downsides of this ‘new normal’.

As the world slowly returns to some new-kind of normality, the opportunity to meet colleagues and have an office environment now and again brings some light to those who have struggled starting their careers from home.

What are the positives and negatives to starting your career from home?

There are many positives:

  • Less anxiety and stress from no commute and avoiding rush-hour traffic.
  • Saving on money: not having to pay for travel and food costs etc. 
  • Being in the comfort of your own home makes you calmer: able to go outside, take a walk at lunch.
  • Health and happiness: with less time spent on commuting there is more time for exercise and spending time with family and friends after work.

But, equally there are negatives:

  • Isolation: not meeting or interacting with colleagues which could lead to higher anxiety and stress.
  • More distractions at home in comparison to an office environment.
  • Lack of motivation: not being around people and staying in all day.
  • Possibility of burnout: not switching off at the end of the day. 

What you can expect when starting your first job at home

The thought of starting your first or next job from home may be music to some people’s ears. For others it may be a daunting time, questioning how you will feel - will it be for me?

Be prepared for the many meetings and networking all online. Being on camera, reaching out and meeting colleagues through direct messaging is all part and parcel of working from home - you have to be proactive in order to feel more integrated.

How many people you engage and connect with, and how much you learn, is all down to you.

Just because you are at home doesn’t mean it will be easy. In fact, it means you have to put yourself out there more - sometimes it may be introducing yourself to a lot of people on a call.

And of course be prepared for the countless video calls and not just lazing in those pyjamas of yours.

Working from home has been a delight and a challenge for many across the country. But for those whose careers have started out from their homes, it has been a bizarre way to enter the world of work, and one which isn’t going away anytime soon.

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