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Hatching the truth: What it’s actually like starting a job in the middle of a pandemic

by Niamh Boylan Niamh Boylan


  • Posted on Friday 8th January, 2021

About four months ago I participated in the weirdest Zoom quiz ever: all the questions were about me. In fact it wasn’t a Zoom quiz at all. It was a job interview (2020 style). Fast forward to the present day and here I am, two months deep into life at Hatch. 

As I sit here in my home office, I’m reflecting on how nervous I was to start a brand new job without ever even stepping into the office or meeting a single person in the flesh – and just how smooth the transition has been. For anyone that’s in a similar boat to me and may be diving into a new opportunity in 2021, or simply for all you curious folk, here’s what it’s actually like to start a brand new job during a pandemic. 

First Day of School

No matter how old you get, I think we’ll always experience those “first day of school” nerves on the first day of a new job – iIt’s part of human nature. But what isn’t part of human nature is having to sit at home whilst waiting for your new virtual colleagues to log onto their separate, respective laptops and send you a Teams/Slack/Zoom/Skype/[insert video conference platform of your choice] call to introduce you to the company. Luckily for me, I started my new job at Hatch the week before the second national lockdown. So I at least had five days of office time before my permanent relocation to the kitchen table. I even got to meet a handful of colleagues too. (Needless to say, there were no hands-full of handshakes, rather, a few awkward waves across the room on my part). As for the rest of my colleagues, well, they’d already introduced themselves by way of amusing GIFs on the Hatch Family Whatsapp at 8.30am that morning, which was the moment I knew that Hatch was the company for me. 

Business as (un)usual

As you’d expect with any new job, you have the obligatory inductions, briefings and introductions to clients. And aside from the added hand sanitizer stations, baby wipes and signs reminding us not to hug each other, I can honestly say that everything feels surprisingly normal. Even meeting clients zia Zoom which at first seemed strangely intimate, feel second-nature to me now. Although on the odd occasion that a teammate’s toddler appears on screen to show us all their latest masterpiece or a client call gets interrupted by a dog yelping, you get a stark reminder that we’re still living through a pandemic.  

 It’s not all Zoom and Gloom

Working from home has its fair share of benefits too. You can lie in until 8am, you don’t have to stress about pre-planning your lunches or, let’s be honest, your trouser choice, and say goodbye to those cold, dark commutes in the winter! And for those working in the creative industry, I have news for you: brainstorms actually work exceptionally well over Zoom! Here at Hatch we tend to experiment with different formats but having small breakout groups before an office-wide brainstorm is a particular go-to of ours – it’s a fantastic way to generate even more ideas than you would in the IRL brainstorms of the past. 

We’re Virtually Friends

The one thing that I was definitely nervous about was not mingling with my new colleagues as I would have done BC (before-Covid). But it’s been pretty seamless. From my introductory ‘21 questions’ on Teams at 9am on my second day, to our virtual awards ceremony, there have been plenty of opportunities for me to mingle (albeit from afar) with my new colleagues. Although admittedly, I can’t wait for the day that I can get into Hatch’s legendary 727 bar and on the away day. Fingers crossed that the mystery location is further than my living room…

To anyone starting a new job virtually this year, I salute you. Yes, it’s daunting, but from experience I can assure you that it’s really not as scary as you may think. Just try not to do that embarrassing wave at the end of a Zoom call because apparently that’s frowned upon… Good luck!