Starting a new AI job from your couch: the Radix experience during COVID

By Yuliia Hladka
June 22nd, 2021
8 minutes
AIremote workWFHCareersteam spirit

If we told you last year that the world would spend a year working remotely or not working at all, would you have believed it? At the beginning of 2020, it would have sounded like a joke, but we all know now exactly how it feels to live, work, rest, socialize and do absolutely everything without leaving your house.

We can imagine that looking for a new job or starting one completely online feels weird. You don’t see your colleagues, you don’t feel the team spirit, and it’s much harder to feel connected to the company’s values.

But this year, we hired seven people who went through the digital onboarding process and dove right into client work entirely remotely. The outcome? No loss of efficiency, and a pleasant experience!

Don’t believe us? Let’s hear from our colleagues who are sharing their experiences starting a new job from their couch.

How will it be, all remote?

Meet Kristien, Shoera, Ruben, Brecht, Jan, Xavier and Robbe:

Working remotely

They all had their fears and doubts before diving into a fully remote job. Do you relate to any of these worries?

Ruben: “Most concerns I had were regarding "do I still have a job" since some close friends' jobs were "delayed", and some of them even were fired. Another concern I had was that this would influence my learning significantly. For example, it’s easier to ask a question when working together at the office than to ask your question over Slack/email. (FYI, everything ended up just fine, I was just a little paranoid).”

Kristien: “Before I started my new job, I was a bit worried whether it would actually happen. I joined during the second week of the lockdown, so it was hard to know how resilient Radix would be to this new reality and how long the remote working would be for."

Shoera: “I was not even aware I would be working from home when I signed my contract because back then, COVID wasn’t there”.

Robbe: “I was a little worried, but the interview/acceptance process made me feel like it wasn’t only me who was interested in Radix, but Radix were also interested in me.

The first week, first remote experiences

You can guess, but you’ll never know how it will be! Here’s how it all happened:

Kristien: “The first week went pretty smoothly and well organized by our Office Manager Margot: she set up different calls with the entire team, so I met almost everyone within my first week, which was great!”

Shoera: “The onboarding process went very well. I was welcomed by Margot, who explained everything to me. Also, Radix made sure the stuff I needed arrived at my home before my first day, like my work computer and other necessary equipment.”

Jan: “The team (especially Margot) was very helpful answering questions, and the handbook answered many as well.”

Margot, you made it all so smooth and pleasant for everyone. Thank you for all your efforts!

So how about those very first meetings and tasks?

Ruben: “Meeting everyone was great. I found it challenging, though, being at the center of the conversation with people you don't know. But being involved in writing a proposal immediately was very interesting!”

Kristien: “The first week was about onboarding, getting to know how everything worked at Radix, getting to know people, and since my role was also new at Radix, trying to find out what the actual content of my job would be.”

Robbe: “During my first week, I was introduced to most of my colleagues, got some small exercises to teach me some basics and eventually got access to the code of the first project I will work on. The first project already contains a lot of written code, but because my colleague Stijn documented almost everything, working myself into the project is going smoother than expected.”

First remote client experience

Kristien: “I had worked with clients remotely before. I think my preference used to be face-to-face meetings, but now I enjoy being able to speak to clients where everyone is sitting in their familiar environment.”

Ruben: “Since I had no experience with client-communication/relations, this was somewhat of a challenge for me (whether or not this was online). The main difficulty of communication online is that it's not always easy to understand everybody clearly, and only one person can talk at a time.”

Shoera: “My first client contact was a pre-sales conversation. We only had a little bit of information based on an email we received. I collaborated with some other colleagues to prepare a presentation and prepare some questions we needed answers on. I think this presentation was very well prepared, maybe better than when it would have been on site. I did a dry-run of the presentation to make sure it was on point.”

Jan: “My first client experience went very well. The onboarding was very well organized, and we have daily standup meetings, so communication is easy.”

So how do you actually do it remotely at Radix?

Ruben: “Right away, I was introduced to Slack, Forecast,  Harvest, Google Drive, the handbook, weekly calls, SD Worx, GitLab and something else I probably forgot. It’s a lot!”

Kristien: “Slack is a great communication tool! I also really appreciate weekly calls within the team (the sales update and sales/marketing update) and the 1:1 with my manager that I still have every week. I didn't have that at my previous job.”

Shoera: “Slack channels are a good way to be informed about what people are working on. Besides that, there is a knowledge sharing session every month, where someone presents about any topic they want. And the calls where you were randomly matched with a colleague for a chat were nice too; they facilitated more deep conversations between each other.”

Becoming part of the team

It might be more challenging to feel integrated into the team when you start remote, but there are ways to ensure it still feels great. Here’s how it felt for our remote newcomers:

Feeling support and having good communication

Ruben: “I felt very supported. I did not immediately know who to contact for which problems but knew I could always contact my team lead to guide me to the right resource (web/person). I felt appreciated during team calls with a little bit of healthy validation (to check whether I did everything correctly). I don't recall what my first problem was and how I "solved" it. Likely it was by asking my manager Jerome.”

Kristien: “I still sometimes feel like getting the right information isn't efficient due to the remote situation, but I've learned what type of communication works better to get the information I need (Slack, calling, email etc.)”

Shoera: “I think there is a lot of support within Radix. Whenever there is a problem, just post it on Slack, and you will receive an answer.”

Robbe: “The communication with the team is great! I feel that I can ask any question I have to anyone in the team. When I have a problem, I know I can find the answer in the Radix Handbook, the new Stack overflow page or message anyone from the team.”

Do they know everyone in the team?

Ruben: “I can say that I know everybody in a sense that I know their name, what they're working on inside of Radix, some minor personal traits or events. However, the latter is steadily increasing over time, with the new informal sections during the team meetings, and talks on WhatsApp also help greatly in this (apparently, almost everybody at Radix is a bike addict?).”

Kristien:  “I don't know everybody on a very personal level yet, even after more than a year, which is a pity. But I do feel like I have valuable conversations with many people.”

Shoera: “I met some people when restrictions were eased in the summer of 2020. Radix organised some events, like a Bachata class, where I participated. I don't think I have met everyone yet, but I’m looking forward to it now that the restrictions are being slowly lifted.”

Jan: “I think I've at least seen everyone in a call by now. Some people I met through the interview process, some via calls in the first week (marketing, sales, mentor) and the rest via weekly team calls, team updates or team activities.”

How does it feel to be a Radician remotely?

Ruben: “It’s lovely here, I also feel appreciated and listened to, which I value a lot.”

Shoera: “We're all in this together. I do feel welcome, and I do have the feeling that other people also want to make an effort to meet me.”

Brecht: “It feels nice! I get a lot of responsibilities while being ‘new’ at Radix. Also, I have the feeling people tend to respect what I do. Of course, I am closer with the people of my team because I have worked with them and had more internal meetings. For the rest, just having casual chats helps a lot to get to know each other.”

Radix-led team activities and other efforts to keep us close

Shoera: “I really like the initiatives that Radix has organised to do some fun activities. But I have to say; it is really difficult to connect with people in a group online when they know each other, and you don't know anyone. I liked the games in smaller groups the most since it really encouraged you to talk to each other. I also liked the wine tasting with the breakout rooms. It is easier to connect in smaller groups.”

Brecht: “The knowledge sharing sessions are sometimes very interesting. Also, the Watch & Learn sessions are nice. The quiz was fun as well.”

Details that made it feel good

Ruben: “Something I really like is the acknowledgements when someone did something good (e.g. the "thanks" channel on Slack), not necessarily on my work. It's hard to get noticed when working online or in our separate bubbles on different projects, and these announcements "pop the bubbles" for a moment. Also, polls feel really nice. It might sound odd, but these polls (from deciding how the office will look to predicting the gender of our colleague’s baby) make you feel like your voice matters, and you're part of the team.”

Robbe: “I was very happy with the fact that Davio, Laurent, Sales, Marketing etc., made time to have a small meeting in my first week to introduce themselves. That really made me feel welcome.”

Brecht:” I was involved in the organisational sessions, which made me feel accepted as someone that wants to take Radix to the next step. Special thanks to Margot, who made the onboarding process smooth for everybody.”

Bonus content: see why Brecht loves working at Radix.

That’s it. It’s not the end of the world!

Starting and doing a job entirely remotely isn’t easy, but we did our best to make it enjoyable for every newcomer. All the little systems in place like technology, scheduled meetings across teams, team activities and other organizational bits make the remote start smooth and even relaxed. That does feel good somehow!

Of course, working remotely won’t ever be the same as seeing everyone at the office daily. But this gives you a chance to take it slow, get accustomed to new circumstances in your familiar environment and give yourself time to adjust.

Would you like to join us and transform the world for the better together? Check out our Careers Hub and see the role that feels best for you.

Excited about Radix but don’t see your dream job position? Then, head over to the spontaneous application. There’s always a place for talented and inspired people in the team!

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