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Welcome aboard - onboarding the remote worker

January 15, 2018

Remote Working

The first day in a new job comes with its fair share of emotions. There’s a fear of the unknown - what to expect, what to say, or what not to say even.

There’s the added worry about how you’ll fit in to the culture of the business, and how your role relates to the role of colleagues. What’s the boss like? What’s the office like? The first days are often not much more than a collection of nervous, awkward moments as you try to put the pieces together. It can be stressful, to say the least.

Imagine then, how the first day must feel as a remote worker. Staring at a blank screen, wondering where to start. Without the ready access to the support network of an office based business, the stress can be magnified. The more formalised structure of the ‘traditional’ workplace makes onboarding a relatively simple and structured process, usually overseen by HR departments or an allocated peer.

Onboarding remote workers takes a different approach, more flexible, but still with that key element of peer support.

They’ll need the right access to the right information. They’ll need to know the processes that apply to their role, and how that role fits in to the culture of the company. In the first case, distance and time zones can prove problematic, so the process ideally needs to begin as soon as possible after they pass the interview stage and accept the job. Including them straight away on all the critical tools, calendars, intranet, email, together with any suitable video tutorials and presentations will no doubt assimilate the telecommuter quicker.

This is also a moment of great opportunity for the business. Onboarding is a two way conversation. New hires should always be encouraged to ask questions of both their managers and peers. For the business, its an ideal moment to get feedback from a new and distant worker on how they find working with existing tools and the processes of how the business works. Often, managers can be too close to things to allow them to see the bigger picture. By making it clear to new staff that they are expected to ask questions at this stage, the channels are kept open with clarity and transparency. It could also lead to the process of onboarding future new hires becoming shortened and simplified.

The new remote worker will want to feel supported and encouraged to play a team role. Encouraging the support of peers in this is important. Collaboration, cooperation and strong communication strengthens the team from day one. Wundamail offers many of the solutions to these issues and is a valuable tool for onboarding thanks to its simplicity.

By communicating daily with the team, questions can be asked, answers easily found, and the new team member has plenty of opportunity to offer feedback to managers and directors. Its a simple and easy, no fuss method of keeping everyone connected and encouraging accountability across the team. When it comes to onboarding new hires, that’s essential.

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