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Remote Onboarding ~ Part 1

If I think back to when I first heard the term “working remotely” my mind would wander to an exotic beach off some magical coastline, where palm trees sway in the wind and white sands sprawl for miles and miles! Sipping on a cocktail while casually staring at my laptop screen and tapping away.

Snap back to reality, and well ... hasn’t that picture of “working remotely” changed dramatically for most of us? Many of us have had to quickly transition from our daily slog to work, to our new reality of not leaving our homes.

We have all had to make a rather quick transition into the remote working world and with this surely some teething problems arose as we went along. From not having the correct software or infrastructure setup at home to work productively.

To being around your partner, and possibly kids, days on end with no breaks (let’s be honest, we all need that little break). Or being cajoled by your couch just to come and take a comfortable seat and scroll through some Netflix!

Let’s take that new reality one step further – starting a new career and being ONBOARDED during this time. Say what!?

As our reality has now shifted due to this post-normal phase we find ourselves in - this process, too, looks quite different. Starting a new career is always a daunting, yet exciting, time. Leading up to your first day of work would usually entail planning your route to the office - and google mapping the traffic situation on your first day to ensure you’re not going to be late. Exploring your new surroundings and meeting your team members for the first time. And ... do not forget, finding the perfect place to grab your takeaway morning coffee! For us new starters during Covid – not so much! We get to comfortably, or somewhat uncomfortably, start that new adventure from the comfort of our homes.

My first day could not have made me feel more ready to step in to a new team. Having not met my colleagues in person, my initial thoughts were “how am I going to get to know these humans” as we wouldn’t have the usual morning catch-up sessions over coffee, or interactions as we walk to the printer. They already had this all figured out!

My first meeting with my new team (KALEIDOSCOPE) started with us presenting a mood board of ourselves to each other – this was the perfect way to get to know a little about what my new team was all about, a way to find commonalities between us. There were an obvious few – wine and coffee!

I thought, "I am going to be just fine"!

This was followed by a quick check-in/activity that usually comes in the form of a question that everyone gets to answer and explain - and this quickly breaks the ice and kickstarts the meeting, which was a quick one.

On to the next - this was my “setup” meeting. Still via Zoom – I was walked through logging in to my new email address, which already had quite a few emails and meeting requests sent to it which was fantastic.

I quickly downloaded all the tools we were to use going forward including my Trello board, a what?! Exactly what I thought. My Trello board was the magic key to my onboarding experience. On this board was a perfect layout of everything I needed to get me started! Notes about the company, about my teammates, tools we were going to use (including Slack, Miro, Harvest – we’ll get in to these next time). All neatly presented on this online platform that I have not even heard about before.

Also, on this board was a list of projects that I was to complete in the coming weeks. As we chit-chatted through the board and any other questions I had, casually talking about our weekend and the coffee orders we like – next thing, my doorbell rang, and to my surprise a delivery arrived with a piping hot Vida coffee and some banana bread – boy was I feeling so special!

From starting the day with not knowing what to expect, pondering how this was all going to work out to being setup for success by 09h30 on my first day – with zero waiting for IT to help me out! It was all already a fast-moving success.

Top take away’s from my experience that undoubtably made my first day and entire onboarding process smooth and should definitely be passed on:

  1. Start first thing in the morning – early morning meetings set the tone for the entire day

  2. Do something to quickly bond the team – sharing a mood board where everyone get’s to introduce themselves

  3. Setup email addresses/logins to online platforms prior to the newbies arrival – this makes for a smooth start and removes the hiccup of wasting time on the first day

  4. Make use of tech tools – there are a plethora of them available, we’ll share the ones that work for us best next

  5. Use a Trello board – to setup tasks, to do’s, tick lists and get to know’s!

  6. Try and arrange a way to meet your teammates – even if it’s a drive by, social distanced coffee chat. As much as our world is moving to a digital/remote space, human connection and interaction is so important

  7. Immerse yourself in the company as much as you possibly can – request some pre-reading/homework that can get you started

  8. Deliver coffee! This will be a special cherry on top!


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