Career Trends: Easing New Job Blues While Working Remotely

5 min read

Edition: March 7, 2022
Curated by the Knowledge Team of ICS Career GPS


Career Counselling
Moving from one remote job to another can end up feeling as if not much has changed in your professional life. That’s because your work environment remains similar. (Image Credit: GETTY)

New job blues are a common phenomena. These feelings don’t necessarily mean “I hate my new job!” they simply indicate that we started with big expectations and have some reckoning to do as we face the reality. 

Usually new job blues are mild and peak within two to eight weeks. The feelings recede as we settle in, get to know our colleagues, and fully experience the reasons we made the change. 

New job blues seem to be more intense and longer lasting for people who move from one remote job to another. It can happen even though you are highly intentional about the choice of job and organisation and it’s a “great fit” on paper. 

Here are 3 tips to address your new job blues while working from a remote setting:

1. Create novelty in your physical work environment.

  • The problem: 
    • Many people who change from one remote role to another feel disoriented in the weeks after starting the new job.
    • Things are “different, but not THAT different,” they say.
  • The reason for the feelings: 
    • When we switch from one work from home (WFH) job to another, what doesn’t change is our physical environment, which psychologists call our “context cues”.
    • Context cues affect our memories and other cognitive processes in myriad ways.
    • Therefore, switching jobs while staying in the exact same physical space can be highly disorienting, and undermine the sense of novelty that we were expecting. 
  • The fix: 
    1. When you change remote jobs, it’s imperative to change your physical working space.
    2. Reposition your desk in some way, if possible, even if it’s just to face a different wall in the same room. Alternatively, find an entirely new work surface. 
    3. If the desk has to stay where it is and you have to use it, then at least change up the pictures surrounding you and reposition items on the desk. 
    4. Whatever you can do to signal to your brain that something has changed can help in a big way.
    5. It creates some of that “fresh start energy” we miss when joining new opportunities while working remotely.

2. Initiate moments of connection with your colleagues.

  • The problem: 
    • When we begin a new job, there’s an initial dip in our sense of connection and belonging.
    • We don’t know anyone and we don’t know the company culture. That’s inevitable.
    • There’s a sense that not only do we not know anyone, we can’t really ever get to know them that well – especially if it’s a remote-first role. 
  • The reason this impacts us: 
    • Social connection and belonging are the greatest source of meaning for humans.
    • Given this, meaningful work is much less possible when we lack high-quality interactions.
    • We all need to feel like we’re a valued part of the social fabric, even the most introverted among us.
  • The fix: 
    1. When we’re working remotely, we have to put a lot more intentional groundwork into connecting with co-workers than we would in person, especially early in a new job.
    2. One-on-one chats are key to building connection. These chats shouldn’t be about tasks and projects, but rather be slated as genuine “coffee chat” kind of moments.
    3. If the culture supports it, tell your entire team or department that you’ll be reaching out individually during the coming weeks in a meeting or written communication.
    4. Schedule 20-minute moments to talk, aiming to hold one or two such conversations each week.
    5. Personal topics might come up, and all the better if so in terms of building connection, but let your conversation partner be the one to choose whether to go there or not.
    6. Determine in advance which aspects of your non-work life you’re willing to share, and which you’d rather not.
    7. Offer up information that you feel comfortable sharing, and respect that for your conversation partner as well.

3. Incorporate in-person socialising in your daily schedule.

  • The problem: 
    • We all know that interacting remotely is not the same as interacting in person.
    • Most remote workers are far flung across the country, or even the world.
    • Even if you happen to live in the same city, meet-ups might be awkward.
  • The reason behind our longing: 
    • We are social creatures. We need to see people in person.
    • This has suffered a great deal in the past two years. 
  • The fix: 
    1. Don’t wait for interactions to occasionally happen; make them a scheduled part of your routine. 
    2. Plan a regularly scheduled half-hour walk with an also-remote-working friend in the morning, lunchtime, or after work.
    3. Lean into your hobbies and interests, even if from long ago, and sign up for an in-person gathering around them.
    4. Don’t forget to look well beyond the day job to fill in holes where work used to create fulfilment. 

All in all, when transitioning from one remote job to another we can have the fulfilling work experience we originally envisioned, it just takes intention and effort to get there.

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Have you checked out yesterday’s blog yet?

Education & Career Trends: 6 Steps to Build Unshakable Confidence


(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the above mentioned article are those of the author(s). They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of ICS Career GPS or its staff.)

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