While the influx of remote work came unexpectedly, it looks like it’s here to stay. In 2021, Growmotely surveyed over 500 entrepreneurs and professionals about the future of remote work, and the results reflect a strong desire to continue working from home for at least some of the time. Only 3 percent of those surveyed responded that they want to return to working full-time in the office. Similarly, 61 percent of them said they prefer a fully remote work environment, and even more of them—74 percent—said they expect remote work to become the new normal.
As the statistics suggest, remote work is not going away any time soon. And after a year of most of the workforce working remotely, it’s time to come up with long-term solutions for your team.
There’s nothing quite like a first impression, and there’s also a lot to be said about a last impression. The way your company transitions during onboarding and offboarding employees can say a lot about your organization. Investing in these processes can not only help make your company look better, but it can also help you retain employees, boost productivity, and find excellent future hires, too. So, how can you create better processes for onboarding and offboarding? Let’s dive into a few things you and your service desk can do to better support employees.
Schedule in Regular Support Time
On top of meeting new team members and adjusting to a new workload, recent hires also need to wrangle with technology and the potential issues that come along with it. According to a survey conducted by IBM, executives and their employees feel very differently about the support they think is being given in a remote environment. While 74 percent of executives felt their organization has been helping staff learn the skills needed to work in a new way, only 38 percent of employees felt the same way. So even if you think you’re giving enough support to your new remote workforce, they may not feel the same way.
A great way to give employees the technology support they need is to set up IT office hours. Give new employees time slots that they can use to set an appointment and come to you for help with their technology. This provides a more predictable support environment for both new hires and service desk employees, allowing each side of the team to spend a set amount of time on support without taking away from other things that need to be done. Plus, it will help ease anxiety and make everyone feel more comfortable asking for help as it becomes familiar and predictable.
This is also helpful in scenarios where an employee leaves the team. Before they transition from the company, they will have to return all technology sent to them and ensure everything is in order. IT office hours can also be useful to them so they can check in on any last-minute needs before it’s too late.
Partner with HR
Adapting to a new work environment is hard enough without starting remotely. Getting to know your coworkers, learning their communication styles, and adjusting to working from an environment full of daily distractions can all make it more difficult to adjust to a new job. To help your employees through the transition, it’s important to support them however you can. One way you can do this even more comprehensively is to partner with HR.
Your HR department is probably already sending out a package to your new employee, so try combining your efforts to create activities and additional methods to support them however you can. For example, you could conduct virtual meet and greets with your entire team to introduce everyone to each other, especially if you have brought on several new employees during the pandemic. You could also host trivia nights featuring information about the company, or host a monthly meeting where everyone gets to play a game like two truths and a lie. Feel free to play around with a few ideas. Any way you think you can boost company morale and connection is all that matters.
Creating a mechanism for feedback is also a great idea, as it will help you fine-tune your onboarding and offboarding processes for future employees. New hires—and old employees, for that matter—often feel uncomfortable voicing their difficulties while joining or leaving the organization. The last thing anyone wants is to feel at risk of being fired from a new job or leaving a terrible last impression. So, providing a safe space for them to express their opinions can be useful on both sides. Send out regular surveys with questions about their experience, and send out exit interview surveys to old employees after they leave. You could even consider making these feedback surveys anonymous to make employees feel more comfortable, and therefore more likely, to leave feedback.
Consider Every Step of the End-User Experience
One of the most important things you can do to support new employees is to create expectations for their first few months on the job, especially when they’re starting remotely. This means considering every step of their onboarding experience, from the moment they receive their offer letter to the first few weeks on the job. It may seem sufficient to just mail technology to your new employee in a cardboard box. However, this could leave them feeling lost and confused from the start, costing your company valuable working time and money. Instead, consider including a sheet or booklet designed to walk them through the first steps they should take once receiving the package. Include directions for connecting new technology, as well as instructions for connecting to your company’s digital solutions. The more guidance you are able to provide your new employees, the more comfortable they will feel on their first day.
Another way you can dive into each step of the employee experience is to revisit timelines and plan ahead for possible challenges. The same timelines for completing projects and tasks you used in the office may not be relevant in a remote environment. With every employee facing their own unique technology barriers, they may be unable to complete projects as quickly as they would in the office. Reconsider the steps your employees once took to work on projects as well as the time required to complete each of them in order to better support them however they may need it.
Supporting your new employees is the first step to fostering a positive and productive workforce, especially as they continue to work remotely. By scheduling in regular support time, partnering with HR, and considering each step of the onboarding and offboarding process, you’ll be well on your way to providing that support.
To learn more about how else you can help your service desk onboard and offboard remote workers, reach out to us at LetsTalk@virteva.com.