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Graham Birkenhead, June 23 2020

Onboarding the Remote Worker

Following on from Andrew’s blog last week about onboarding the remote worker – what do we need to do differently to ensure success?  

 Well, in general terms, we have exactly the same objectives: we need to welcome the new person to the team, ensure they quickly feel that they belong and are connected to their co-workers, give them the tools and expectations (policies, processes, equipment, permissions and boundaries) for them to be able to do their job, and the opportunity to learn and fit into the culture while simultaneously learning what and how to actually do what you hired them to do.

So, what has changed?  In the office environment, we can ‘wing it’; people are sat in close proximity to each other – seeing and hearing.  This is a great environment for spontaneity – both in terms of asking questions or checking other people are OK.  We can compensate for technical issues, lack of clarity about process or tasks by dealing with issues as they arise – mini fire-fights if you will. In the standardising environment of an office, people quickly learn and become part of the culture – we learn from each other, it’s part of our survival instinct as we fit in and find our place.  However, in the remote environment, it is easy for people to be out of sight and out of mind and our exposure to people tends to be in short bursts while looking through a screen.  In our remote work environment, while we are striving to achieve the same things, we need to be more conscious of what we are about, bring in a little more rigour, process and discipline to our communications - both the means and content.

 There are 5 points to consider when onboarding a new remote employee – although this is just good practice for any employee – whether office based or remote:

 And so ...   There is nothing really new in this.   This is all good management practice. In an increasingly remote working world, we have to become more conscious and conscientious about doing what comes naturally to us as humans. They key is to see and operate our workplaces whether they are physical, virtual or some combination, as learning environments – whether for existing or new staff.  The company that learns faster than the competition and puts that learning to good use, is the one that will come out on top.

 Each of those 5 areas discussed is a whole topic in itself.  Will you call me if you want to know more about how to make any of that happen?

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Graham Birkenhead

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