Location, location, location—does it really matter?

While we are slowly returning to routines that have been on hold for many months, there are certain activities that may never be the same. For example, where and how we work may have changed for good.

Remote work was put into practice out of necessity to limit the spread of the coronavirus, but more than a year later, this arrangement has endured as we proved that it could succeed. In 2020, we cracked the code on how to thrive in a virtual working environment—we changed how we communicate, access information, and even how we dress. Employers made tremendous efforts to retain their company values and culture, while keeping employees engaged and productive.

Now, at least 30% of professionals say that they will continue to work from home permanently.1 Even if we are among those who will go back to the office, one in three of our colleagues, business partners or vendors will likely be working remote.

But how are new hires able to acclimate to a company’s culture and forge new relationships from their kitchen tables having never set foot in the office or met colleagues in person? The first few days of a new hire’s experience is critical to setting the right tone, and the first 90 days can influence an employee’s happiness in the job, productivity and long-term retention.2

Employers may need to re-think onboarding, training and career development for a remote workforce. This can be particularly challenging for younger workers who may be newer to the workforce and don’t really know what to expect overall. Here are some tips to consider:

  • Plan regular face-to-face calls and meetings. So much is communicated through body language, it helps to get a better feel for everyone on the team.
  • Send a trinket or company “swag” in the mail for a physical connection.
  • Offer occasional virtual social gatherings to get to know one another on a more personal level.
  • Assign a work partner/buddy to help a new hire learn about company culture, access resources and navigate processes.
  • Over communicate with your employees to ensure clear expectations and connectivity.
  • Provide guides to help a new hire set up their remote work setting. This can include ergonomic guidelines, space and location considerations, and how to create boundaries around work and structure to help prevent falling into a trap of working all the time and not taking time for personal needs.

Key takeaway

Visit Better Money Habits®, Let’s talk managing money in our new at-home lifestyles page where you can access three videos about working from home, saving money and adjusting budgets while working from home, and rethinking home locations and needs. You can share that page with your employees as well

1 Better Money Habits®, Let’s talk managing money in our new at-home lifestyles.

2 Employee Experience and Wellbeing, Raconteur, March 15, 2021.