The pandemic accelerated the trend for remote working considerably. And while plenty of people are now back in offices—much to the delight of inner-city coffee shops—there’s still a big appetite for home and hybrid working options.
The hunger for it comes from employees and employers alike, as it can be hugely beneficial for all. But if you’re an HR/People Manager, remote onboarding comes with a few added challenges and pressures–especially as it plays such an important role in retention.
In fact, 42% of organisations are improving their induction process to boost retention rates, according to the CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development).
So, support your friendly, local barista. Grab a latte. Maybe a croissant. Settle in and take a look at our tips for nailing it.
Fire off a DSE Assessment, ASAP
As you’ll probably know, ‘DSE’ stands for Display Screen Equipment. In simplistic terms, it’s a risk assessment for anyone who uses a screen for over an hour per day.
It’s purpose? To make sure your employees have the right equipment and guidance to work safely and effectively—in this case, while at home. It covers things like:
- Temperature, and
- Noise levels
And with 60% of UK employees experiencing new neck, shoulder, and back pain since they started working from home, it’s important to get it right before they start, plus it’s a requirement of UK Health and Safety laws too.
Send out a feel-good gift or goodie bag
Who doesn’t love free stuff—like pens, water bottles and reusable coffee cups? While it’s great to receive these Perks, your welcome pack shouldn’t just be about materialistic things.
It’s always worth sending one out to your new recruits before they start. Sure, pop in a few treats. But also write a note too. A few kind words to welcome them to the team will never go amiss—especially considering it’s a team they potentially haven’t met in-person yet.
It’s a small, memorable gesture that could make a big, positive difference.
Be flexible with their workspace options
Rolling out of bed and turning on your work computer can be great. It suits some. But not everyone. We’re social creatures that enjoy interacting with others, and continuously working from home alone can affect your employees.
If your newbies live close to your offices, give them the choice to work there a few days a week, or whatever they feel comfortable with. If that’s not practical because of distance, you could find a coworking space that’s near to their home—whether that’s in Bath, Belfast or Budapest.
This allows them to engage with others in a comfortable, constructive environment—one that suits how they prefer to work. So you can get the most out of them without the cost and hassle of renting a permanent satellite office.
Put their picture up in lights—well, on your website
A quick, simple way to make your newcomers feel part of the company is to upload their photos on your website on day one—depending on your relationship with tech, of course. If it’s any easier, you could also post about your newbies on company’s social media platforms.
It’s these two, simple gestures that can go a long way in helping someone settle in—and be productive from the get-go.
Set up a video ‘meet and greet’
New remote working employees might have been into your offices for their interview, or it could have been done via video conferencing. Either way, the chances are they won’t have met all the members of their team and senior stakeholders.
If an in-person meeting isn’t practical, putting faces to names could help strengthen relationships. Set up a casual video chat before their start date with several key people. Everyone can get to know each other, and it gives your new employee the chance to ask any questions they’ve thought of since the interview.
Pre-empt any tech issues
IT issues on day one will only add to the stresses of a new remote worker. Ping over their log-in details about 48 hours before they start. This gives them a chance to access your systems and flag any problems beforehand, so they can hit the ground running.
To make this easier, create an IT checklist of all the things they need to do. Be it getting onto the server, password management or reviewing their email signature. If your tech team has the capacity and resources, you could arrange a quick training session to run through the most important stuff.
Make a cultural difference
Culture is a difficult thing to convey; there are so many elements to it. And when a person is working remotely, it’s even trickier for them to understand.
Over time, your culture will become more apparent to them, but there are a few things you can do at the start to help:
- Send them a copy of your employee handbook.
- Send across any presentations you have about the company’s values and objectives.
- Got any videos or pictures from company social outings or meetings? Send those over too.
Set up an onboarding buddy system
When you start a job, there are always those extra questions you want to ask your new boss, but don’t. Probably, ‘what’s the boss like?’
To help your new remote worker feel welcome and included, pair them up with an existing employee. Somebody they can chat more freely to, be it for advice or to help them better understand the culture.
Bring people closer by sharing lunch from afar
Heading out for a lunchtime sandwich with a co-worker used to be commonplace–maybe even calling into the local pub on a Friday. These are great opportunities to build workplace relationships, ones that make people happier and more productive.
Unfortunately, that’s less practical now, especially for homeworkers. To help strengthen bonds between your remote employees, arrange a few (unforced; it’s not for everyone) virtual lunches.
You could possibly send out take-away gift cards for people to buy their lunch. Maybe prepare some light-hearted questions though, (just in case things go a bit quiet!)
Ask for feedback
No onboarding process is 100% perfect, be it an in-office or remote working one. That’s because everybody is different, and what works for one person might not suit another.
So ask for feedback. What was good about it? What wasn’t? Do they have any suggestions for improvement? The more you learn, the better it will get, plus it shows you care.
Finding the right balance between office and remote working is a challenge. But it’s one we’d be chuffed to bits about helping you solve. After all, we are the world’s first hybrid workplace platform. Click the link below to find out more.