Starting a new job can be difficult. It is even more difficult during a pandemic when you can’t meet new colleagues face-to-face and get an idea of how the office ‘works’.

Several colleagues discuss their experiences of starting at Elexon during the COVID-19 lockdown – their thoughts, concerns and expectations.


Geraldine Buckland, Chief People Officer

Before starting and the first few days

Geraldine BucklandBefore I started, the HR team and other colleagues had been in touch, sending me information and diary dates and giving me the heads up about what to think about over my first few weeks. IT were very patient in giving me remote training on the IT systems and processes.

It felt easy at first, because it was completely new. I felt Elexon was incredibly resourceful as an organisation: the way my laptop and phone was sent to me and functioned perfectly.


The main challenge was not being able to picture the office that everyone kept referring to. There’s a common language that comes with shared history and I couldn’t picture ‘the blue room,’ or ‘the Chairman’s office’ and indeed have never even seen my own desk. There are also the shared habits: lunch on a Tuesday, etc., that are referred to (and that sound great!), but that I haven’t experienced.

Longer term, after a few months, I realised that building relationships from scratch takes longer remotely. So my relationships aren’t perhaps as deep as they might usually be, three months into a new role.

Getting to know colleagues

I had many e-welcome messages, which is quite unusual and which was very welcome. Also, I have found that people are really willing to spend time explaining the things I don’t understand or helping me pull things together at short notice. That applies all across the business.

More recently, people from all of the directorates have been spending time telling me about their areas and helping me to understand the business better. Nothing ever seems to be too much trouble for people around here.

I think I have probably been more sensitive to group dynamics here, which I think is because of remote working and not having got to know many people physically. When you feel you know someone, you pay less attention to details and interactions are far less nuanced. So there have been things I’ve maybe misunderstood or misinterpreted that I probably wouldn’t have, in a physical environment.

David Elsdon, EMRS Data Analyst

Initial concerns and getting started

David ElsdonIn early March, I was looking forward to my first day with Elexon on the 1 of April. As this date approached it became clear that my first day in the office was not going to be a ‘traditional’ one! At first I was somewhat worried – half-expecting a message to say that my start date had been postponed, or worse, but as it turned out this was just my own nervousness.

Personnel had been in contact with me for a few weeks before I started and I knew that the intention was that I would be provided with a laptop and I could start working remotely. The day before I was due to start I received a message that a courier would deliver a laptop the next morning. I also a got an early message of welcome from my new team manager.

I was able to connect to the network and receive my induction remotely from IT. All of this went smoothly which was welcome a change to other starts I have had where the IT side can be a painful experience.

I have had many ‘first days’ over my working life and although it only seems like a small thing, being able to ‘sign-on’ and access all the basic things you need straight-off does add to the feeling of welcome and that you are valued as a new starter.

Day-to-day and working remotely

My team has regular ‘catch-ups’ and various other regular meetings so I gradually became absorbed into the day to day work. The one downside to be being new and working remotely is that it is not so easy to ask the simple questions like where a document is stored, or ‘How do I fill in my timesheet!’. Everyone was very helpful and understanding but it just takes that little bit more effort to ask the simple questions.

Over the past few months I think we have found new ways of working. I think that this is in no small way due to the positive attitude that I have experienced from everyone I have had contact with – everybody seems to put a lot of effort into making remote working ‘work’. I think one major benefit of working at Elexon is that it is a relatively small community and communication is so much easier, not only in terms of work but also in support for each other.

I don’t feel my induction could have been much better. My time so far has been, and continues to be, very positive.

My first few days and ‘virtual’ coffee

My induction commenced with a ‘virtual’ coffee where I was introduced to the rest of team. My new line manager had carefully organised this together with a series of introduction sessions to meet the other EMRS teams and individual section managers. Again having these scheduled from day one made me feel welcome and valued.

My introductory sessions were all held as video meetings so rather than just hearing ‘disconnected’ voices I got to meet my colleagues in as near ‘the flesh’ as is possible. Everybody put a lot of effort into being welcoming during these sessions and I think perhaps as everyone was calling from their various ‘home office’ set-ups (even a shed in one case!) and were more casually dressed, then my introduction was a lot more relaxing.

I was impressed how quickly everyone had adapted to the remote way of working so my initial experience were very much that ‘this is the new normal’ rather than an ‘OMG! It’s a disaster! How are we going to cope?’. This gave me a lot confidence in Elexon and EMRS generally and I had joined an organisation that was continuing to function well despite the challenges of the ‘lockdown’.