Did We Forget to Give Teams a Remote Working Playbook?

Imagine you’re a new employee at a time when many people are starting their careers remotely. Where is the remote work playbook? Are employees ready for remote work routines? How do they feel about their remote working routines?

Maybe you felt a little uneasy and didn’t know how to blend in when you started your first job. Perhaps you didn’t know who to ask questions from or seek support — or even how or what to ask, in the first place? After a while, you gained a feel for how things operated in the business you were in and whom you could turn to ask questions within the organization.

Where is the Teams Remote Working Playbook?

Imagine you’re a new employee at a time when many people are starting their careers remotely. Your first coding, writing, or new internship is your job. How do you handle your schedule with college, study, and work? Who’s going to help you navigate this new form of time management? Hopefully, if you are an employer, parent, or mentor you will know how-to guide this new person.

But as a young new employee — how will you understand office culture if you’d never worked?

Interpersonal issues

It’s difficult for first-time remote workers to stay motivated, especially if their boss only occasionally calls but rarely meets them. Their superiors and coworkers aren’t as accessible as they would be if you were in the office each day — or if you had had a relationship in the past (before COVID) as a full-time employee.

Finding the knowledge these new workers need will take more effort and time than has previously been addressed.

Many firm policies, procedures, and onboarding programs provide guidance but lack cultural awareness. New remote employees may be overwhelmed and have questions, but are hesitant to ask. New employees and their employers often believe an individual should resolve matters independently and avoid drawing attention to themselves. Some businesses don’t realize that everything has changed over the last couple of years and new protocols need to be in place.

Changing channels to remote work

Managers should explore daily check-ins with remote new employees.

An onslaught of messages and responsibilities throughout the day may not offer a new hire a sense of belonging. Consider combining emails, phone conversations, video meetings, and online collaboration portals.

Encourage questions and use blunders as learning opportunities. Consider providing a “virtual buddy” who will furnish informal support to your new team member along with virtual coaching. Always think about the career growth of your new employee — and specify possible career routes and milestones. Teaching a career path and the acquired learning helps the new team member feel a ray of hope.

Prescribe working part-time at the office or on the job site if your less experienced employees can accommodate the schedule. One-third of workers aged 18-24 preferred working offsite only one day a week, according to PwC, and only a fifth of those polled agreed.

Onboarding and rapport development are great — but organizational knowledge is likely best shared by more senior teams.

Working it with remote work

As an example, consider the case of Emily who started as an IT apprentice for an international horticultural company during the pandemic. She initially shadowed her mentor online and his calls and team meetings helped her master IT troubleshooting. She spent a few days in the office before Covid-19 forced its closure.

Emily admits she was initially intimidated. “I was afraid I’d make a mistake or remove a file from the company but my team is fantastic. If I have questions, I can easily reach someone remotely.”

Within four months, she was working solo, more confident, and well-versed in the process of helping staff with IT challenges. Emily excels in her work due to her management and team’s support, continual IT studies, and her personal drive to grow.

But this type of achievement may not be shared by others who work remotely for the first time.

Perceptions and Health with remote work

During Covid-19, researchers studied teleworking to see how it influenced employees’ job performance, job happiness, and physical and mental health. The researchers found exciting data. You can find their comments in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.

The research plan Implementation was thorough. The main thing that the subjects said helped them to adjust to their new work schedule was how widely people embraced them. Remote work isolation and conflicts with family and work commitments were the main issues that stopped the new team members’ growth and adaptation.

Those new employees who were the best at adjusting were the ones who had prior remote working experience and thus expertise. Those who were starting their first full-time job and had never worked remotely were not as successful.

Recommendations for making remote work less stressful for new hires: Improve teamwork by teaching everyone at the same level and the same time — and supply a mentor.

Helps for the new employee for remote work — especially if they are young

Discuss communication with all coworkers and superiors together. Teach employees how to use databases to manage tasks and address fundamental IT issues.

Include remote workers in the creation of remote work schedules and the schedules of the in-office staff — review remote work initiatives and have your onboarding team help.

Look for “charge agents’” who will mentor and coach new remote workers. Collaborate with other organizations in your network or sector to share best practices.

In terms of mentorship, the trend toward virtual will likely continue even after all employees return to the office. Virtual mentoring can help employees feel valued, acknowledged, and empowered to perform at their best. Some of the practices of the past for office protocol will never be the same again — so get used to and encourage innovation in your teams.

Making your work programs accessible requires learning communities, communities of practice, and staff resource groups. To provide these services remotely was practically unheard of in the past and has been a challenge. But these practices are becoming normalized in many businesses and institutions since the pandemic.

Rewards and recognition in remote work

Consider rewarding and recognizing remote workers who show initiative and inventiveness. Also, explicitly nurture soft skills in new hires by understanding the need for human interaction to develop these talents.

Giving a new employee some early wins can help develop confidence. Let them co-chair a meeting or deliver a topic of interest to the company. Any leadership opportunities you provide will begin to build trust and credibility among the new employees’ peers.

As you work with your new employee or team member — especially if they are at university, or part-time — your scheduling conflicts will become much less common.

Your current new employees will help you rewrite the playbook for your future remote employees.

Take the awkwardness out of the scenario by using Covid-19’s two years of experience to greet new employees from anywhere — and help them become creative and productive.

Image Credit: Cottonbro; Pexels; Thank you!

 

This article was originally published here.