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Illustration: Mike Sullivan

How to Start a New Job During a Pandemic

Photo: Illustration: Mike Sullivan

As Twilio’s new head of human resources, Christy Lake normally would have spent her first few weeks on the job talking, lunching and generally hanging out with many of the San Francisco tech company’s 3,000 employees. Instead, her early April start date reduced her schedule of in-person meetings to exactly none. 

“Usually, I’d be able to determine the culture very rapidly by being in the office,” Lake said. “I had a lot of anxiety about how to do this” while sheltering in place.

Office shutdowns prompted by the coronavirus pandemic mean the thousands of workers fortunate enough to have been hired since March have only ever worked remotely in their new jobs. That has forced them to find other ways to get to know their colleagues, from using apps that set up random coffee chats to joining online yoga classes. Starting a new job while physically apart means recent hires can feel like the new kid for longer. They may sag under the weight of video-call fatigue. But certain techniques, such as setting goals with managers early on and mapping out time to get to know their colleagues, can help make the process go better.

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