New Remote Worker? 5 Tips for Success

New Remote Worker? 5 Tips for Success

Congratulations! You made it through the interview process and have just landed the remote position you have been dreaming about. Now it’s time to dig into the work. But what are your next steps as a new remote worker? Let’s take a look at some things you can do to give yourself a successful onboarding experience.

And remote team managers, take note! These tips are geared toward individual remote workers, but can easily be applied to managers who need to onboard new remote hires. You can also read this article about successful onboarding from the manager’s perspective.

5 Tips for Your Successful Onboarding as a New Remote Worker:

1. Create a 30-60-90-day plan

For a recent role, I crafted a 30-60-90-day plan while still in the interview process—and although it took a significant amount of time and work, the planning effort paid off. Based on the position description and initial discussions with my supervisor, I stated desired goals and objectives. Days 1-30 focused on assessment and info gathering, the next month centered on planning activities, and the last month represented the execution/review stage.

My supervisor and I reviewed the plan together and were able to chart a course that we were both invested in; there’s no better way to ensure you’re headed in the right direction! If you haven’t crafted one beforehand, your first week is the very best time to do it. Clue your boss into your ideas—and don’t worry about this jeopardizing productivity. Bosses are typically pleased that you’re thinking far enough ahead to produce a 30-60-90 plan, as it makes onboarding easier for all involved.

2. Get to know your coworkers.

You’re not an anonymous person behind a computer screen, and neither are your coworkers. Get to know them better by scheduling 1:1 intro meetings with your peers and manager via Skype or another video application. (Since more than 70 percent of communication is nonverbal, video is a critical component here.) This is where you can banter a bit about your professional backgrounds, hobbies, and personal interests, rounding out your impressions of one another as people and as colleagues.

Keep in mind that although intro meetings are a one-time deal, it might be a good idea to schedule regularly recurring 1:1s with key colleagues. You’ll get a sense for whether that’s necessary—or not—in your meetings. And in the process, you’ll become better acquainted with the company’s culture, too.

3. Explore your team’s digital tools.

Remote teams must champion the role of communication. Today, there are so many ways for you to keep in touch with colleagues and collaborate from a distance.

  • Is your team always chatting on Slack, or are they more of a Trello bunch? Ask your manager and close colleagues (and by “close,” I don’t mean in proximity, of course) where you can expect to interact and share important documents or project materials online.
  • If you find that you have zero experience with their tool(s) of choice, invest some time in exploring the various dashboards and databases, logging any questions you have. This will give you insight into how your team approaches quality assurance and the production of expected deliverables, as well as your team’s work style and processes.

Thankfully, most of these tools have been designed to be intuitive. But if you do encounter a more confusing interface, you’ll have saved yourself from future headaches and panicky moments since you checked them out in advance.

4. Gather and organize relevant resources.

“Wait, what document are we talking about?” Collecting the resources you’re going to need in your new role will take some time, so don’t freak out if you hear a coworker reference something unfamiliar.

That said, it’s wise to immediately begin gathering intel on where to find key resources for your role, whether those live in Google docs, Dropbox, the company’s intranet, or elsewhere online. Set aside time to build a master list or “cheat sheet” of hyperlinks to help you as you get situated. It’s an easy way to pick up on new names/acronyms/project references in as little time as possible!

5. Repeat after me: I’m not stuck in my house.

Just because you work from home doesn’t mean you have to constantly be at home. Trust me, your home office may seem like a professional refuge. But after enough time spent in solitude, every so often you’ll need to be in the presence of other human beings. This is the way to maintain your focus as you transition from office life to remote work.

I know what you’re thinking. While coffee shops as personal offices are a romantic idea, let’s be honest: the hustle and bustle of your neighborhood java joint might not be the best place to take serious work calls, participate in video meetings, or focus on a complex project. Yet, you still crave the outside world. I understand, and suggest that you check out potential coworking options available near you. If memberships are flexible, once per week is really all you need to beat cabin fever and be reminded how lucky you are to avoid a daily commute.

Kristi DePaulA remote marketer since early 2014, Kristi DePaul (@reallykristi) has mastered content development, management, and creative direction from a distance. Her adventures have taken her to nearly 40 countries on five continents. She doesn’t work in her pajamas.

By Kristi DePaul | December 16, 2015 | Categories: Work Remotely

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