Being the new hire at a company can be difficult. Meeting coworkers, learning new skills, and finding your way around an unfamiliar office all at the same time is a daunting task. However, as a recent hire at SoGoSurvey, my onboarding experience looked a little different. I learned the platform, met with mentors, and chatted with coworkers all from the comfort of my own home.
As for that traditional kind of new hire orientation? Well, it doesn’t look like it’ll make an appearance any time soon. As companies adapt to working from home and hiring increases, new employees will have to alter their expectations for what it’s like to transition into a new job.
Given my recent “e-onboarding,” I’ve compiled a few thoughts on benefits, practices, and tips for a new hire’s successful virtual integration into the company.
Benefits of OFH (Onboarding from Home)
Most people agree that working from home is great. Onboarding from home has the same benefits and then some. Saving time on commuting, relaxed work attire (especially if meetings are solely audio!), and spending extra time with pets are just a few benefits shared by both. With home and work at the same location, sleeping in longer and doing household chores during breaks are also possibilities.
OFH from home brings the additional benefits of a familiar workspace and less social pressure. The factor of an unfamiliar office is removed and replaced with a hire’s own home. This removes some of the stress of navigating a new space while trying to accomplish other tasks. Additionally, there’s less pressure to remember everyone’s name because it’s nearly always on their profile when you message or speak to them.
Practices for a Smooth Transition
Clear expectations are critical for an easy OFH. This can be accomplished with a document outlining exactly what the new hire should be doing each day and with daily meetings in which the new hire and their manager/mentor(s) clearly communicate their expectations and questions for each other.
Also, it is important that new hires have access to knowledgeable resources such as coworkers that are willing to help out, answer questions, and let the new hires shadow them.
Team meetings, specifically for fellowship and bonding, are conducive to new employee integration as well. It allows the team and the new hires to get to know each other as individual human beings, helping to create a good team dynamic and feelings of belonging.
While not essential, it is helpful for a new hire to go through OFH with another person. With another person OFH at the same time, the new hires can keep each other on track and figure things out together.
Tips for New Hires
If your remote colleagues hae enough bandwidth to turn on their cameras during meetings, I recommend taking the opportunity to do so. It makes meetings more engaging and personal, helping to make connections between coworkers. If your some employees not have the bandwidth for everyone to turn on their cameras during calls, you can still ask for cameras on selected meetings. A quick minute or two of video with your introduction can help new coworkers remember you and put a face to your name.
Take your lunch break. Your employer doesn’t expect you to work through lunch. Make a good meal, watch an episode of tv, take a nap, or go outside. Taking your mind off work for a little bit can help you feel more motivated afterwards.
Lastly, attend as many non-mandatory meetings as possible and participate. It’s a great way to learn about the company, get to know your coworkers, and/or get extra training. You’ll get to know people, and they’ll get to know you. This will ultimately help you feel more comfortable at your new company.
WFH, here to stay?
I feel extremely lucky that SoGoSurvey made my virtual onboarding so straightforward, pleasant, and welcoming. They’ve made me look forward to the day that I can finally see the office, commune with my coworkers in person, and maybe even hit up a happy hour afterwards. To be honest though, I am more than content with working from home. I’m just as productive at home as I would be in the office, I revel in the extra sleep I get because I don’t have to commute to work, and I love the extra time that I get to spend with my pets and partner. Here’s hoping for the normalization of WFH/in-person hybrid work schedules that last long after the pandemic is over.