Remote Onboarding – The benefits, challenges, training & case studies
How does remote onboarding work?
Remote working is becoming more and more a popular way of working. It does not require an office and you can work remotely from anywhere you want in the world. Many of us would like a more flexible job and better work-life balance. Remote work makes that possible. Who wouldn’t mind working from an island in the Bahamas with a fresh cold Piña Colada and the warm ocean waiting for you when you are off work?!
Maybe you are worried about or wondering about how it all works in practice. How can you be a part of a company and still have colleagues etc while working remotely? And what are the advantages and disadvantages of the remote onboarding process? Let’s dive into that.
The advantages of remote working
It is not just for the thought of basking in the hot bahamian sun while working that remote work seems alluring. Studies show that remote working when done correctly is closely connected to increased productivity. Due to factors like no commute and fewer distractions in the workspace, working remotely focuses both the company’s and the employee’s full attention on what truly matters – performance. This may sound like a convoluted slave tactic and advantage only garnered by the company, but no. If you are more productive when you are supposed to, more time for the rows of Piña Colada calling your name in the distance, right?!
Besides rising productivity levels, other benefits include widening the net of recruitment, but also the pool of talent, since the boundary of geography is no longer existent. Additionally, the flexibility it gives remote employees is invaluable. This is surely part of why remote workers tend to report higher job satisfaction than office workers.
The environment and flexibility
Our planet also benefits in some ways from remote working, as the carbon footprint of these remote employees is reduced. Not to mention the needs of pets, children and family members being able to be met.
On the other hand the other family members can of course also serve as distractions to productive work. However, this is where the flexibility in working hours can alleviate the negative effects of that.
This is of course not to say that there aren’t any disadvantages, but that is another article for another day. The purpose of this article is to give remote employees, on one hand, an idea of what to expect. On the other hand, companies can draw inspiration from this case, who are very familiar with the remote onboarding process.
Remote working is – in many ways – the future of work and the consequences of Covid19 the last year has only made it even that more relevant. But how does the remote onboarding process work? A selected and specific case offers tips and learning for onboarding and managing remote employees.
Some help or inspiration in terms of remote onboarding from a case company
First things first, for the sake of setting the premise of our case company, Contractbook is a digital contract management platform that aids in the management and automation of employment contracts and other business contracts. The company was founded in 2016 and has currently helped more than 150.000 users across 75 countries in the making of improved contracts.
Onboarding is not just a technical thing for this company. They believe the working culture is just as important in addition to creating a company in unison with a close social environment.
It is important that creativity and innovation thrives. They want people to be absorbed, socially, into the company.
How remote working works in practice:
- Every new person gets a go-to-buddy who they can ask any questions they like or ask for help from
- Every new person is being introduced at meetings to the other people at the company
- It is encouraged that everyone has one-on-one meetings with various people on the team. Also with people they will not work with together on a daily basis.
It can be difficult getting to know your colleagues and understanding the core values and culture of the company you are working in, when you are working remotely. So it is wise to choose a company that knows what they are doing on that front.
If the company you are working for has the same focus on integration, informally and formally, like this case does, then you don’t have to worry. The most important thing is that the company makes sure that new people like you get a deeper understanding of the entire business and that you get well integrated into the team.
What is formal training in terms of remote onboarding?
As a remote worker there is also a more formal and technical aspect of it to take into account. It is important as a new employee that you get trained in security and data privacy.
In this organization new remote employees get a sheet of tasks they have to go through. And furthermore they have to understand the market strategy of the company, the sales strategy, the roadmap etc. For the more technical part of the onboarding process the new employees can use various tools and platforms.
The process is completely outlined, so the formal remote onboarding process takes no longer than approximately a month.
What is informal training in terms of remote onboarding?
Informal training is as mentioned about understanding the culture and values of the organization. All organizations and companies are different and it’s important to understand the tone and the working culture to fit in in the best way possible.
New employees like you, dear reader, at a company like this, who remotely onboards, will most likely experience a very informal tone and a flat hierarchy with very open discussions. It can be difficult to get used to if you are used to a more formal tone or a more hierarchical structure in your former job. Because of that, a big chunk of the informal onboarding process at this place is to focus on these things. The other employees always focus on making the new remote employees feel relaxed and comfortable enough to pitch in.
How does this case differ from other firms?
The practices mentioned above about the informal training in this company might be one of the areas where they differ from other firms. When it comes to remote onboarding this take on the onboarding process, is just as relevant, if not more, for you as a remote employee. When you are new in a company and you do not meet your colleagues daily or at all, it can be difficult to feel comfortable enough to pitch in or ask questions that might seem stupid.
Another way they different from many other companies is their way of hiring people. They have chosen not to hire people based on their CVs and skills but on their personality. Hiring people based on their personality also has an impact on the values of the remote onboarding process. Meaning, no meanies or divas allowed!
Here, they work around your skills as the new employee instead of the other way around. It is essential for the company that you as an employee or remote worker feel you can be creative and original. And the more focus there is on the informal onboarding process, the faster you will grow your strengths. With that follows also the eagerness to learn more and in better ways.
If you want to read more about the values and philosophies of Contractbook, you can read this article in Forbes written by the co-founder and CEO Niels Martin Brochner.
What are typical challenges in the process of remote onboarding?
Even though remote working has many advantages it is not without problems to establish a remote working environment.
Some of the challenges this case faced are:
- Connecting the physical office with the remote employees.
- The feeling of isolation for the employees and lack of meaningful interaction with other co-workers
- Increased distractions which can make the onboarding process less effective.
What to do to solve those challenges?
At this organization they try to solve many of the disadvantages from above by being very strict about the first digital approach and being very open from the beginning.
The 1:1 meetings and cross functional teamwork is also a way of connecting remote employees with the physical office and thereby avoiding isolation and the lack of meaningful co-worker relationships.
Maybe you are already dreaming about beaches and cocktails now. Perhaps you have gotten curious and want to know more about remote working and the onboarding process? If you want to know more, this article has covered some of the universal advantages and disadvantages of remote working.
Good luck with your potential future remote work – work from the comfort of your home or even bed, if you are lucky!
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