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By Neil Thomas

When I started the journey that led me to move organisations, I had many concerns on my mind. Am I the right fit? Do I have the required skills (come on, we all suffer with a bit of imposter syndrome, don’t we!?) Do I really want to leave my existing role? Well, having mulled these and many other thoughts over I decided at the beginning of 2020 that the move was right. One question that hadn’t crossed my mind at all was how I would come on board. Why would I? All companies need to do this for all employees and it is then a case of forging my network – easy peasy…

As life sometimes turns out, I was thrown a curveball as my start date was now in the midst of the most impactful pandemic in a century. I offered to push back my start date as I could see immediately the challenge in starting when I did, but my new organisation was keen for me to start, and so it happened.

“No more,no less.And do you know what? It worked far better than face to face.”

I then carried the real concern of being completely unable to network and coffee chat to build my relationships; this worried me a lot. The basis of our business is in solid relationships and having mechanical calls over remote technology could lead to a poor start. This was not good!

Not only this, but a new employer, who doesn’t know me, is now entrusting their newest asset to be productive with no evidence to support that being the case. One could argue that any ‘new broom’ unable to prove themselves, is a probation ‘no’ (I genuinely hope I haven’t tempted fate!), but nonetheless, it played on my mind.

Day one arrived and it was crunch time.

My laptop turns up via a courier and I receive an email explaining the logon procedure. First result, I am in and the IT is working. Having navigated that challenge, my real worry is now manifest. How am I going to network and develop working relationships? The answer is far from exciting and I apologise now for leading you through nearly four hundred words to tell you that I used MSTeams. No more, no less. And do you know what? It worked far better than face to face. Why you may ask, well the introduction sessions I had were focussed and scheduled (and video) so both parties were committed to the connect. A passing hello in the office can mean several interactions before getting to content, but this was different.  It has in fact worked perfectly! I feel embedded in the organisation because the time I have spent with others has been dedicated and focussed.

As with all stories there must be a moral and I have thought about this too, is it that we shouldn’t worry about what we can’t control? That’s good actually, but better still, relationships are born out of humans interacting and being inclusive. Proximity does not need to be a factor in this and as such I needn’t have worried.