The concept of remote working has fast become a normal business standard in today’s business world. Now that the pandemic is finally coming to an end, many are adapting a “business as usual” attitude, as they are finding new, innovative ways to trade, do business and get work done.
A combination of flexible and hybrid work introduced practices like revised hours and work-life balance. The significance of the office-place has been broken; just like the unwritten rule on taking work home.
Over 79% of Ireland’s workforce chose remote working over traditional methods, according to the Central Statistics Office. Since global pandemics and national lockdowns, remote working has fast become the most preferred way to work.
But what exactly is remote on-boarding, what laws cover remote workers, and how can you as an employer to support your employees working outside of the ‘office’? Here Moira Grassick, COO with Peninsula Ireland shares a guide and checklist for employers when it comes to on-boarding remotely.
What is remote on-boarding?
Remote on-boarding is a virtual version of employee on-boarding. It generally includes normal steps for recruiting a new candidate. They only difference is that employers (or HR teams) utilise digital tools and methods, like video calling or shared online drives.
The main aim of remote on-boarding is to offer the candidate a deserved place within your company – even if they’ve never set foot inside.
Employers might not ever interview them in real life, or even meet them in person. But through virtual means, the talent-pool boundaries have become significantly wider than ever.
Why is on-boarding important?
A successful remote on-boarding experience doesn’t stop after gaining an e-signature for a contract.
It’s important to have an on-boarding process which is both fair and just. A successful process allows employees to adapt to their work role, culture, and practices.
Create a strong, inclusive and engaged environment and process from the start, and in return, you’ll blossom employee retention and business success.
Whilst remote working has its significant advantages, one of the most important factors to take in is inclusion. In some cases, a remote worker might not ever meet another colleague.
So, it’s vital they feel like part of your workforce–with immediate support and commitment.
What are the laws on remote working?
Under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act (2005), employers are legally bound to protect employees – including remote workers. Ireland’s laws outline health & safety needs and responsibilities for remote workers. So long as the employee works within your company, you have a legal duty of care.
What are the benefits of remote on-boarding?
We appreciate many factors have affected business and people alike. Collectively, we’ve been forced to adapt to new working, operating and trading ways. But on-boarding remotely has been one at the very top.
Meeting in person might be out of the picture for some. So, the introduction of innovative technologies to interview candidates has been welcomed by the masses. Virtual job interviews through Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and Discord have proven popular.
Businesses gained financial savings from reduced infrastructure costs, like using electricity or gas in the office-space. This could prove to be a significant deciding line between closure and staying afloat.
And it’s not just advantageous for bosses, employees are also benefitting from remote working. From zero-commuting strains to better work-life balance. Favourably, employers can squash the curve on disruption, safeguard employee wellbeing, and potentially make savings themselves.
On-boarding checklist for remote employees
Employers must be able to adapt with change in order to survive. If there are new norms for working conditions, you need to be able to accept them with ease.
By accepting remote working norms, you can motivate remote workers and watch your business flourish. A few steps to include in your on-boarding checklist for remote employees:
- Introduce practical support to welcome them to the business. (Like sending additional equipment or even a welcome present).
- Focus on regular communication (through 1-1 and weekly online meetings).
- Emphasise an inclusive culture (from managers as well as colleagues across the organisation).
- Focus on employee wellbeing (especially if people are affected by personal grief).
- Remind everyone on the importance of business success through teamwork.
Successful on-boarding experience will reflect company ethics…
Remote on-boarding will be the first form of interaction for a new employee. Any business can easily introduce staggered weeks or flexible work. But if employee wellbeing is cared for, it boosts applications and retention simultaneously.
Remember, the most important practice is complying with your legal duty of care. Make sure you focus on staff inclusion; and eliminate isolation and disconnection. Remote employees will ultimately have a better work-life balance this way. And in return, they’ll bring in business triumph and success.
Moira Grassick, COO, Peninsula Ireland
Experienced director with a demonstrated history of working in various services industry including financial and legal services. Skilled in HR consulting, HR policies, organisational design and development, management, and performance management.