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My first remote onboarding experience

Starting a new job remotely with colleagues that are halfway around the world? Fear not, I've got you covered.
Published 10 May 2022
5 min read
Zoom team meeting and plant

So you’ve just landed your first ever remote-first job. Congratulations!

If, like me, you’re new to the whole remote-first experience – chances are you might be wondering how things such as onboarding work when your colleagues are halfway around the world, and how to get to know your new job in an asynchronous setting.

Fear not, I’ve got you covered. Here’s what I’ve learned during my first 30 days in my new remote role at Employment Hero.

Setting up my workspace to start strong

With a remote job, a huge chunk of your time is going to be spent looking at the screen – whether it’s for meetings or deep work. Make sure your laptop is set at eye-level to help reduce stress on your neck. Never forget about the importance of ergonomics!

One of my favourite laptop stands is this BoYata one. It’s done wonders for my posture throughout the working day.

If you can, consider getting a standing desk. After all, we tend to sit at our desks for 9.5 hours a day. Employment Hero provides a generous work from home budget and I plan to dip into it to get one.

An organised onboarding experience

Starting a job for the first time without colleagues in the office is surreal, especially if you’re unsure what to expect. I went in not exactly sure what would happen on day one: Will I be ok? Will I feel lonely? Will I get the chance to get to know my new team?

Fortunately these thoughts simmered down quite quickly. Something that helped me feel confident from the get-go was a digital onboarding document that I received ahead of time. It empowered me by providing a high level overview of what my first week at Employment Hero would look like and in turn empowered me to focus on exciting things ahead.

Despite my team being in another timezone, I’ve found this to be the most organised onboarding experience I’ve had to date (don’t worry, they’re not paying me to say this, I promise).

Besides getting to know the job, setting aside time to get to know your colleagues can be daunting if you’re not onsite. Something I enjoy doing is blocking time for virtual coffees and catch ups – even if it’s just half an hour. It’s a great opportunity to get to know your team and learn how you’ll be collaborating.

Looking for resources to help ease your new hires into their remote role? Take a look at our remote onboarding schedule template, remote onboarding template and new starter bio template. They’ll help your new starter get up and running in no time at all.

Asynchro-what?

As a content writer, one of the magical moments I’ve enjoyed in my new asynchronous environment is waking up to my work being edited overnight, which definitely was an ‘ooh’ moment for me.

If you’re having trouble scheduling something due to the time zone difference, I highly recommend a tool our Junior Designer, Yllianna, shared with me on my first week called WorldTimeBuddy.

Another favourite of mine is also a hack our Content Marketing Manager, Izzy, shared with me – to use the internal Google Calendar setting that allows you to see your home timezone, and add another. Now, I’ve got both AEST and BST time set up at a glance. Yay!

Clear expectations and goal setting

Ah, expectations. You either love them or hate them. For me, I love them because it gives me clarity and helps me set goals. We have weekly 1:1s at Employment Hero, and I love using this time to clarify any of the above. Let’s face it – there can be a lot to process while learning about your actual (and still very new) job.

Going into this role I had my doubts, but after getting through my first month I’ve managed to find my own rhythm. Now I make sure I’m able to get constructive feedback and hit all of my deadlines. Something that’s also worked well for me is doing a personal productivity hack.

This has required me to adopt a test and learn mindset and view my onboarding experience as an experiment. Giving me the chance to learn from what’s gone well and room to see what needs improving. That way, I can mitigate any risks when I have a bad day, and ensure that time isn’t wasted. After all, we’re only human.

Something that helped guide me was a 90 day plan my manager put together. It set aside clear goals for the first 30, 60 and 90 days of my role. I also use this in reference to any social coffee hangouts I want to book so that I can get to know my teammates ahead of time and start establishing rapport.

Build new habits to avoid burnout

Habit building (and dropping) has always been key for me. It helps me avoid burnout as I become a sponge in my new role. Unlearning has become a huge part of this process too: what may have worked for me in one job, might not serve me in another.

New habits I’ve started implementing include blocking out time in the morning to do what I call ‘inbox zero’, where I catch up on my emails and file or action accordingly. I also try to meditate depending on how sleepy I am, as this can have the opposite effect.

I’ve also started a ‘wind down period’ in the last half hour of the day in order to make sure I set myself up for success and can start strong in the morning. This helps me to avoid starting something that then keeps me from signing off on time. It’s also helped me reduce the chance of burning out immensely. If I do end up starting something (it’s unavoidable sometimes if you’re on an idea streak), I time it for 15 minutes and pull the breaks after that.

Ensuring I have offline time during lunch is very important to me as well. It’s done wonders for my creativity and has ensured that I feel well-rested to tackle the remainder of the day. My new routine consists of taking myself out for a walk. It’s simple, but super effective. After all, the average adult spends a whopping 34 years staring at the screen.

Build confidence in new teammates from day one by digitising your onboarding experience.

Having experienced it myself, I’m confident in saying that digital onboarding really helped keep those pesky first day nerves at bay.

It provides clarity for both the direct manager and new teammate to stay organised, whilst ensuring that no one is caught out by surprise.

A couple of years ago I couldn’t have even imagined that I would be sitting here in my apartment in London, doing my dream job with a team on the other side of the world. But what I really didn’t expect is how safe and supported I feel in my role, and that so much trust and such a friendly working environment has been built quickly and virtually.

High fives for digital HR.

Supercharge your remote onboarding experience

If you’d like to find out how you can lift your remote onboarding process to new heights, check out our super thorough recruitment and onboarding guide.

Following the latest and greatest HR expertise, it’s a must read for any employer looking to create a successful onboarding experience. From conducting great interviews, running an effective induction, managing probationary periods like a pro and utilising helpful digital tools – this guide is your one stop shop for all things recruitment and onboarding.

Download now

The ultimate recruitment and onboarding guide

Justine Yuen
People Specialist - Employment Hero
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