Transitioning to a fully-remote role during the COVID-19 pandemic feels like a strange situation to be in; to be handed the trust and freedom to work wherever and whenever, but unable to actually do so.
In the UK, some of the Coronavirus lockdown restrictions are starting to be officially lifted. The buzz around the pandemic has died down a little and people are starting to return to their daily routines, but I can't help feeling in limbo - life is not normal, but it's also not the clearly-defined lockdown we've been used to for the past 10 weeks.
I'm very aware that the current work-from-home situation many people find themselves in (myself included) isn't representative of true remote-first culture.
The problem: Lockdown is no more comparable to remote work than starving is to dieting. Context matters a great deal. Nobody has ever worked remotely during a global pandemic, and all the advice being peddled is largely just nonsense which sounds good.
Fortunately the team at Ghost are, simply, an awesome bunch of human beings.
The First Week
I've gone from employee #2 in my previous role, helping to grow the organisation over a period of 6+ years from 3 people to 20 and building the processes and infrastructure along the way, to the newest member of an established 16-strong team. That's a whole lot of context to go missing from my professional life overnight.
It helps to have expectations communicated clearly from the outset, and John and Hannah did a great job of making sure that was the case.
You should expect everything to generally be a shitshow. Don’t fight it.
Even with a well-structured onboarding plan, week one wasn't without it's curveballs. While unplanned maintenance is never a good thing, it provided an opportunity to see how the team responded to the situation in real-time and to demonstrate value and start building trust in the knowledge and experience I bring to the team.
Without exception, everyone on the team has gone out of their way to help me feel welcome and included - and despite the missing context, new relationships, and new environments, Ghost feels comfortable and somehow familiar already.