I am starting a PhD abroad, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic I cannot leave my country at the moment. My advisor has agreed that I can work remotely (starting later is not an option). While we can Skype and most of my work can be done online, I am concerned that having no access to the department, not being able to attend seminars/workshops, and not being able to meet/talk to other students in person will put me at a big disadvantage.
I am keen not to spend these initial few months slacking off and want to catch any problems before it is too late. However, I have always found it difficult to judge my own progress when studying alone, and with a PhD it seems that it will be especially hard as I need to learn a lot of skills in a new area. Also, because my advisor seems like a very 'nice' person who does not demand that his students work very hard, I am concerned that he will not tell me if I am underperforming.
Would it be appropriate to raise this with my advisor, asking him to tell me if I am not doing as well as his students usually do? Or are there any strategies for people working from home to judge if they are doing enough?