Starting a new job after retrenchment can be challenging under the best of circumstances, and during a year as unique as 2020, it can be quite daunting. For many people who have been retrenched, starting a new job will mean working from home, either permanently, or for the foreseeable future. Others will be joining a workplace that is adhering to strict distancing protocols. But even in the face of challenge, transitioning to a new job shouldn’t be something that causes you undue stress. ManpowerGroup South Africa managing director Lyndy van den Barselaar offers these tips to help make the transition easier.

1 – Take care of your confidence

If you are one of the many people retrenched during 2020, there’s a very good chance your confidence has taken a knock. Even though retrenchment is rarely something you have any control over, most people report a feeling of failure after it happens. It is important to take time to care for your own emotional and mental wellbeing before heading into a new work situation. Work on cultivating a positive attitude about your own abilities; remind yourself of the achievements, big and small, you’ve made over your career.

2 – Networking

At any new job, getting to know your co-workers are critical. These are the people you will be working with every day, and creating positive relationships from the start will only serve you well in future. However, with the constrained conditions everyone is working under at present, it can become more difficult to do this. If you are working remotely, make sure to engage fully in all team calls – speak up and listen up. I

f you can, set up one-on-one video chats with your team members to formally say ‘hi’ and get to know each other. If you are working on-site, make the effort to be as open and engaged as possible.

3 – Set healthy boundaries

Setting healthy boundaries is crucial in any job situation, and especially so under disrupted circumstances. For example, if you are working from home, you need to ensure your availability isn’t taken advantage of, and that you outline work time from personal time. There are many boundaries to consider, like how far outside your scope of work you are willing to go, or how close (or distant) you prefer your work relationships to be. Don’t set any precedent you don’t want to continue, like answering emails late at night.

4 – Compromise

These are uniquely challenging times and, as a result, many of our existing corporate structures have been disrupted. This is absolutely not the time to be stuck in your ways. Flexibility and compromise are the order of the day. Try to achieve a healthy balance between compromise and boundaries – work with your team, and not in isolation.

5 – Ask questions – just don’t overdo it

With working from home and social distancing, asking endless questions can feel intrusive or downright risky. However, you still need to get to know your co-workers, company culture and what is expected of you. If you have questions, don’t be afraid to ask them – just find ways to do it that don’t cause disruption or stress. For example, find out if the answers are available on the company intranet, or if there are any workplace manuals you should familiarise yourself with.

“Integrating into a new workplace is always challenging but making the effort will be rewarding. Positive professional relationships lead to a positive career experience, and these take time to cultivate. Even if you are able to hit the ground running in terms of the work you’re doing, getting to know your colleagues will take time and effort.

“If you’re willing to put those in, however, you will discover that starting a new job post-retrenchment isn’t so daunting after all,” concludes van den Barselaar.

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