How to Set Up a Successful Remote Work Onboarding Process
July 7, 2023
Remote onboarding creates unique challenges for organizations. With a remote team, tech setup becomes more critical than ever. Remote work becomes the new on-site paradigm. Employers must provide employees with a fully remote infrastructure, including software and equipment, to replace the in-person office. Without a well-structured onboarding plan, new employees become disengaged and organizations suffer increased turnover. A new employee onboarding checklist sets clear expectations with achievable milestones for new hires.
This article will cover how to tackle the challenges of remote work onboarding. These strategies enable organizations to create an effective virtual onboarding experience, to supply and equip remote team members, and to prepare them for success in their new roles.
Preparing for remote work onboarding
When onboarding remote employees, preparation is key and a comprehensive onboarding program is required. Make sure you have remote work infrastructure in place so new employees have a positive experience on the first day of their new job. Ideally, employees should begin to learn about your organization well before their start date so that it is easier to make a seamless transition and get started in their new role.
IT teams should collaborate with HR, finance, and facilities operations teams to establish requirements for onboarding new remote employees. These could include secure online HR documentation, software setup, equipment purchasing, and shipment to the remote employee’s home office. With clear remote onboarding policies and expectations in place, new hires can feel confident as new team members and hit the ground running.
Procuring equipment for remote employees
A well-equipped home office is essential for remote work environments. Your remote employees will need up-to-date computers, monitors, keyboards, headsets, and other tech supplies. Ergonomic furniture is also critical to a complete onboarding checklist.
Set up a procurement plan for purchasing and shipping supplies to remote employees. Choose equipment that fits your department’s budget, but make sure to deliver the right tools for the job. A study by Intel in the U.K. showed that outdated hardware resulted in over $3,000 of lost productivity per employee per year – costs you can avoid by supplying workers with modern tech.
Next, implement a secure shipping process to ensure your packages reach their destination and track and manage devices in your organization’s inventory. Insure all shipments and choose carriers that meet your security needs.
Resist the temptation to scrimp on procurement. Poor equipment can result in lost productivity and a negative employee experience. By choosing better equipment, you can achieve substantial cost savings for your organization and improve employee retention.
Setting up remote tech equipment
When your new hire receives their equipment, they’ll need instructions for setup. Make sure new employees understand the proper procedures as called out in an employee handbook for powering up devices, creating accounts, and installing software. Deliver instructions via email, Zoom, a Slack channel, or other social media messaging apps, and provide active tech support during the setup process.
You can improve security by configuring hardware and software either remotely or before shipment. Take the time to thoroughly plan the setup and authentication process so that you’re ready to troubleshoot issues as they arise.
Setting up home office furniture and accessories
An ergonomic office can increase productivity and enhance employee morale, in addition to being good for your employee's health and well-being. Your employees can benefit from a best practices template for setting up home office furniture and accessories.
Provide new hires with instructions on how to adjust desks, lighting, and chairs for better posture and focus. Proper positioning of the keyboard and mouse can help prevent carpal tunnel syndrome. These measures may seem simple, but their impact can be dramatic. With the right ergonomic setup, employees will be healthier, which will make them more efficient throughout the day and ultimately result in better collaboration and project outcomes.
Orientation and training
Orientation can make or break the onboarding experience even in a traditional in-office job, and for remote team members, the initial orientation process is even more crucial. If your employees don’t feel engaged or confident during training, they are less likely to be productive over the long term. Some may even rethink their decision to join your organization, leading to increased turnover rates. Because of this, it's important to do everything possible to make the process smooth and easy.
IT managers should work with other teams to create a welcoming introduction to the company. Get new hires up to date on policies, workflow, and company culture, and provide communication tools so they can reach out with questions. Make an extra effort to be present so that remote employees don’t feel isolated. Offer virtual team-building exercises, icebreakers, video calls, one-on-ones, and check-ins during the first week to introduce workers to their colleagues.
As employees move through training, managers should provide ongoing support and answer questions as they arise in order to make the process as smooth as possible even in the absence of in-person orientation and feedback.
The rise of remote work has brought benefits for organizations and employees alike. The pandemic was only the beginning of the shift to making remote work routine. Now, remote work and distributed teams have become the new normal, allowing team members to work anywhere, anytime, with greater productivity. However, the remote work onboarding process also brings new challenges for managers and team members, who must provide the right support, equipment, and guidance to new hires to offer a sense of belonging
Include effective onboarding strategies in a remote onboarding checklist to ensure that new hires have the necessary tools to succeed from day one and effectively work from home. As the industry's leading platform for equipping remote workers, Firstbase provides the support your team needs to handle remote hires and support a company's mission to enable a remote workforce. Request a demo to find out how Firstbase can enhance the remote onboarding process for human resources and hiring managers. And don't forget to throw in some swag and video conferencing happy hours to make everyone feel part of the team!