New Hires, Same Pandemic

This is how it feels to journey into a new job. 

Starting a new job comes with plenty of unknowns. How long will the commute take? Will I get along with my teammates? What does ‘business casual’ really mean in the office? How much fridge space will I get? After a few days of diving into the work and having meet and greets with your fellow employees, you typically start to find a rhythm. 

Unless, of course, you start during a worldwide pandemic.  

We spoke with three of our new employees to get a sense of how the changing landscape subverted their expectations of what it feels like to be the ‘newbie’ at Motion. 

Tim – Director of Social Media 

The biggest change for me was the onboarding process. I like being able to dig in right away, get a sense of how the agency operates, then find immediate changes that improve processes within my team, the company, and how we interact with clients. With COVID, it made it tough to get to know my coworkers on a personal level. No water cooler talk, no quick recaps walking out of a meeting back towards our desks, and worst of all, no happy hours. 

Navigating virtual meetings was also an unexpected challenge. There’s a sense of formality that was a bit jarring. No small talk beforehand and very little afterwards. Side note: Why do we all feel the need to wave goodbye on Teams calls? 

Motion understood these pandemic shortcomings and did their best to adjust (hey, aren’t we all?). Virtual Thirsty Thursdays were a big help in learning more about the people I wouldn’t work with on a daily basis, yet were still a big part of making Motion a successful agency. 

John – Account Supervisor 

A lot of the obstacles that I’ve faced were expected. That’s a product of how significant the shift has been to remote work. The interview process was an unexpected challenge. In a sense, job interviews are you selling yourself to the team that’s hiring you. It’s much harder to make a connection with someone through a virtual format and put your best foot forward. 

Everyone on the PR team made sure to introduce themselves and welcome me to the team. I knew if I had any questions I could ping someone I didn’t work with, which helped me feel like a part of the team and well-supported from day one.  I was incredibly excited to join Motion and the team seemed just as eager for me to start, so that mutual enthusiasm definitely made a world of difference, too. 

I’ve really enjoyed the slow return of two days a week in the office because it’s a bridge between normal and where we are now. That also translates to the Motion Flex plan, which provides the option for us to work remotely after our full-time return to the office. It’ll be great for visiting distant family or making the most of travel plans that had been put on hold during the pandemic. 

I do wonder if there will be less in-person client interaction. I’d be disappointed with that. There’s an irreplaceable element to being in a meeting and shaking someone’s hand, even if that’s old school. 

Stephanie – Designer 

I had an unemployed period between March and July of 2020 so I went through this process of saying, “Yeah, I could do some one-off work, but what do I really want to do with my time? Where should my energy really go?”  

The people you work with are going to be the majority of your daily interactions. Having a good sense of who they are is really important. I chose Motion because I knew I could vibe with everyone on a personal level. The work might be the same whichever agency you choose, but the people aren’t. I started freelancing for Motion when Stefanie reached out to me after a while and said, “We mesh together well, do you want to work here full-time?”  

Even though I just started working here full time I feel like I shouldn’t be feeling burnout, but it’s kind of crazy how often it hits. The boundaries between work and personal time are already so blurred from being stuck at home. Now add in all the social unrest and racism and so much violence–it’s a lot to process. It’s been especially hard to accept all the escalated attacks against POC’s lately; it all just hits too close to home. So, balancing a lot of emotions while still being present in a professional and productive manner has been tough.  

Our team drinks coffee together every morning just to chat, not even about work sometimes. We’re always checking in to make sure everyone’s feeling good about what’s on our plate. The people at Motion have become a little community I can tap into and that’s definitely been comforting during this time. 

It’s Been a Weird Ride 

And that’s ok. We’re going through strange times, and that comes with a range of emotions as the world begins to collectively exhale. With vaccines rolling out, companies across the country will have to answer a singular question: “What does normal look like now?” 

One answer would be to listen to their employees, both old and new. New hires bring in a range of experiences and ideas that can help any company expand their understanding of how their employees can effectively function.