Welcome to the VWFS Blog
  • Jun 9, 2022
  • 4 Minutes

What’s it like starting a new job in a hybrid-working environment?

Starting a new job can evoke a whirlwind of emotions as we navigate life at a new workplace, with new colleagues to meet and new processes to learn.

From excitement to nervousness and eagerness to anxiety, the first few days and weeks of a new job can often be a real rollercoaster ride.

But how does it feel to apply for and begin a new job when the country is still feeling the impacts of a global pandemic and all your colleagues are splitting their time between home and the office?

Over the past two years, we’ve seen lots of new starters joining departments throughout the business and we’ve worked hard to make the virtual onboarding process as easy as possible.

We have put into place new measures and greater flexibility including significant investments to support our employees, including the introduction of a Wellbeing Centre at our HQ, the training of Mental Health First Aiders to help staff struggling with mental health issues and further support for workers through an Employee Assistance Programme.

So, to kick off a new quarterly series in which we get to know our new starters, we caught up with three colleagues about their recent onboarding journey and how their careers at Volkswagen Financial Services UK have begun…

Lucy Watson-Smith at VWFS

Lucy Watson-Smith

  • Current job title: Mobility Marketing Manager 
  • Date you joined: 6th January 2022 
  • Where you joined from: Director of Marketing at National Hair & Beauty Federation 

How did you find the interview process?

I found the interview process very organised and clear compared to other companies that I had worked for previously. The level of detail and support given from the HR team helped ensure that I was prepared with everything I needed. The first stage interview was on a team’s call and then the second stage interview was in the office, which was great to get a feel for the team and the office environment that I would be working in.  

How’ve you found the experience of hybrid working?

Having come from a previous role where I was predominately home based due the pandemic, I was used to working from home. However, I have enjoyed the balance of hybrid working at VWFS. It’s great to come into the office a few days a week to get to know the team, and use face-to-face meetings in order to collaborate on projects. It is a really productive way of working.  

Tell us about your current role: 

I enjoy how varied my role is, being able to collaborate with lots of different areas of the business in order to drive forward the Rent-a-Car strategy. A big focus for me this year is to look at how we can drive innovation and growth for the Rent-a-Car business. Driving acquisition of new customers and strategies to retain customers. Improving the digital customer journey and optimising online conversions is another core focus for this year.  

sandra himmans headshot at vwfs

Sandra Himmans

  • Current job title: Data Protection Specialist 
  • Date you joined: February 2022
  • Where you joined from: National House Building Council (NHBC) 

How did you find the interview process?

I found the whole interview process to be very smooth, and dare I say it, an enjoyable experience! Although my interviews were conducted virtually, it didn’t take away from me building a rapport with my interviewers. They put me at ease from the start and overall it felt as though we were just having a conversation.  HR were fantastic in supporting me through the onboarding process and were always on hand to answer my many questions.

How’ve you found the experience of hybrid working?

I think the hybrid-working model is working incredibly well. The work/home life balance has been a constant struggle for most people. Now there’s more flexibility on being in the office, I can plan my days accordingly. I’m at home when my children return from school, and can dedicate real quality time to them after work instead of previously feeling distracted following my commute home. I also still feel connected to my team via MS Teams and don’t think it has hampered building a rapport with them in any way.   

Tell us about your current role: 

I’m thoroughly enjoying being part of the data protection team – I’ve been made to feel so welcome. Everyone here is not only friendly, but real experts in what they do. As a team who supports the business on all data protection matters, it’s very fulfilling to provide guidance on a topic that can be a bit of a minefield to manoeuvre. We’ll be working a number of deliverables overs the coming months to really embed a strong data privacy and data protection culture here at VWFS. I’m very much looking forward to it! 

India Brown headshot at VWFS

India Brown

Current job title: Marketing Assistant

Date you joined: 7th March 2022

Where you joined from: Marketing Executive at Alliance Automotive Group

How did you find the interview process?

The interview process was done virtually which was a new experience for me, but I found that everything was well structured and the process ran smoothly. The interviews were nerve-wracking, but I was made to feel as comfortable as possible and given time to think about the questions, and allowed to answer them in my own time. There was a good mix of questions as well as a practical task, which allowed me to learn more about the business and get a real sense of the type of work I’d be doing within the role.

How’ve you found the experience of hybrid working?

I enjoy the flexibility that comes with hybrid working, but it can also be challenging when starting a new job as you’re trying to learn the ropes and get to know your new colleagues. However, the induction process was fantastic and I got to meet my team virtually within the first hour on my first day. I also had 1-2-1 calls with colleagues from various areas of the business, which was helpful, to get to know different people and find out about their roles.

Tell us about your current role: 

In my current role, I support in the marketing activity for demand generation. What I enjoy most about the role is how varied it is, no two days are the same and I’m always learning and getting to work on new things. I also like that I’m encouraged and supported to do things outside of my comfort zone, for example, within the first couple of months I was asked to present something I’d worked on in one of our team meetings. Some of my objectives for this year are to deliver tactical campaigns, social media content plans and external events.



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