Starting a new job during a global pandemic

Starting a new job is always a daunting prospect, but it is particularly challenging during an unprecedented global pandemic!

The UK formally went into lockdown on the 23rd March and I started my new job at BMA House on Monday 30th March 2020. It was an unexpected start and a unique experience for all of us. As I write this blog on the afternoon of June 2nd I still have not set foot inside the building! I had expected my first week to start by meeting all my new colleagues face to face and familiarising myself with the working environment and routines; instead I was setting up my new desk on the dining room table in my parent’s house in remote Herefordshire!

However, despite the difficulties the ‘new normal’ (sorry!) of working from home presented, it has also had some benefits – you have to accentuate the positives in such situations! There is no overcrowded and frantic commute through London every morning, just a gentle saunter from my bedroom, down a small flight of stairs to the dining room. Also there is easy access to snacks throughout the day – just a few more short steps to the fridge in the nearby kitchen.

The events team at BMA House have also been so welcoming and made my transition into this role as smooth as possible. My new colleagues have been regularly checking on me to ensure that I don’t feel so isolated – our virtual social evenings such as bingo and quizzes have really helped to make me feel fully integrated.

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Working from home has required a big adjustment from all of us. From my point of view, establishing how to meet with people and relay information over video calls are a few of the trials I have had to manage carefully. Learning about the role and my new job requirements through virtual training has been difficult at times but tolerance, sympathy and kindness of the team has helped me to overcome any barriers.

The well managed transition to working remotely has been increasingly effective and the safeguarding of employees during this time is clearly a priority at BMA House. We have all been provided with the essential IT equipment to maintain regular communication. Clearly this does not compare to being physically in the office but the technology has enabled me to forge new friendships and working relationships (Broadband permitting!).

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However, the time away and the slower pace of work has afforded me the opportunity to take more time to learn about my role and venue information. I have been able to acquire and practise the administration tasks and familiarise myself with the operation platforms, so I should be able to perform these tasks when the venue reopens (and it will, someday soon!).

The world is working its way cautiously through a difficult and harrowing time. The amount of bleak news and daily updates have often been depressing and overwhelming. The amount of pain and loss that has been experienced globally is incalculable. It is impossible to predict what will happen in the future and when life might start resembling pre-lockdown normality. So starting a new job in this uncertain climate has been both odd and difficult in equal measure; however, it has also been a welcome distraction and hugely rewarding.

During the week I can focus on my work and my colleagues at BMA House have continued to be so supportive and reassuring. In addition to peer support, I have really tried to maintain a good balance between work and relaxation, trying to not put too much pressure on achieving everything and feeling guilty about not meeting unrealistic expectations. I have been setting routines during the days so I can stay focused on my work from 9am to 5pm and then finding other positive activities to fill the rest of the week (I’ve found a new friend in yoga!).

It is impossible to predict when this odd period and how we will adjust post-pandemic. However, I am fortunate to have a good job with lovely colleagues and a supportive family. This, combined with good mental and physical health, is the most important thing.

I hope to meet you all in person soon!

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Written by Kate Warde

Contact us on 020 7874 7020 or email events@bma.org.uk

BMA House, Tavistock Square, London, WC1H 9JP

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