Remote onboarding: successfully settle into your new job online

4 mins read
Shutterstock 1711810159

11 May, 2022

​Working remotely is not a new concept, but there are some employees who have never worked from home before. With organisations now looking to remotely onboard new employees, some may find it more challenging than starting a role in an office.

This blog will explore the considerations you should make so that you can be an essential member of the team and acclimate quickly to your new role.

Home office

One of the first things to consider is finding a good working environment within your home, with minimal interruptions and maximum concentration. It doesn’t have to be an office of your own, just a place that is yours, that you can leave at the end of the day.

Work-life balance is crucial to our mental health, but it’s impossible to completely maintain during the lockdown, so you need to compartmentalise and use indicators that let you know you’re either working or not working i.e. a desk for work use only.

Technology

Your company should send you all the resources you need, including computers, keyboards etc. but you need to prepare your home for the increased and prolonged use of technology. You may need to upgrade your broadband or the capacity of your own computer, for example. Your electricity and internet bills will rise, but there are tax reliefs for that, so look into how you can claim money back for the increased cost.

Find out what platforms your team is using and how they want you to share your work or collaborate – then familiarise yourself with these systems and processes. Your routine may depend on that of others going forward. Get acquainted with their system in the first day or two so you can start contributing as quickly as possible without mishaps – this may require seeking out the best person in your team to be ‘on-call’ for any support.

Communication

When you’re in an office environment, it’s more likely that you’ll have casual conversations with your new colleagues in the vicinity. Now, you must make an effort to get in contact with them. You will likely have an introductory team meeting over Zoom, MS Teams or other software, but to get to know people better, you should be proactive. Aim to set up meetings with everyone individually, to find out who they are, what their role is, how you can support them – and also a bit about them outside of work.

Most new starters, especially if they’re new to the industry, will need a lot of support and your team will expect you to ask for help rather than figure it out alone. Utilise the technology to keep in touch with your manager and colleagues as and when you need to. There will always be someone in your team who can help you out, but you need to ask. Find someone who can help you connect to others you need to know in the organisation.

Expectations

When anyone starts a job, you must first learn what your boss and team expect of you, and what you should expect from them in turn. Part of getting to know your team and their roles is learning what you will need from each other. You might find that your boss is checking on you a lot to begin with, but that will lessen over time as you build their trust by meeting or exceeding their expectations.

Ask if there is anything you need to learn more about and aim to build your skills as you work – there are so many online resources and courses to choose from, it’s good to ask for some recommendations. Gaining relevant skills will benefit your team as well as yourself.

Soft skills

Communication is one of the most common soft skills that employers look for – others such as flexibility, resilience and time management are also highly desirable, especially during the lockdown. Having a good attitude, being eager to learn, and offering to do more to support your team will help you stand out as a valuable team member.

Part of being proactive is having your own opinions and ideas, and sharing them in order to help the team. This may take a while to get right if you’re just getting the hang of things, so no one will expect perfect solutions right away – but if you do have an idea, don’t be afraid to share it because it may spark others’ creativity. The worst that can happen is they say no. It’s better to make mistakes and ask questions at the beginning so that you can learn and grow.

You may be working from home for a long time, so make as much effort as you can to stay professional, stay connected, and make a good impression.

If you’re still searching for your next remote role, or a talented candidate to share this information with, contact any Reed office via phone or email.

You may be interested in these...

Reed’s Czech Republic salary guide 2022
2 mins read
  1. Featured

Reed’s Czech Republic salary guide 2022

With the pandemic beginning to loosen its hold on the Czech Republic, 2022 brings optimism for both companies and professionals. With the greater certainty this brings, businesses will be less cautious about hiring, while employees who didn’t want to risk changing jobs during the pandemic will feel more secure about moving.This environment makes it important for both employers and employees to understand the market rate for salaries and benefits across the country. Reed’s Czech Republic salary guide 2022 allows you to benchmark salaries for a range of positions across Prague and Brno, ensuring you know what you are worth and as an employer, what you should be paying staff.Who should read the 2022 Czech Republic salary guide?The salary guide is essential reading for employers and employees.Organisations should use the figures and survey data contained in the guide to inform their salary and benefit offerings, especially with the labour market favouring worker demands.On the flip side, professionals are in a strong position if they choose to find a new job. Using the guide to understand their value puts educates them, ensuring they know their worth when it comes to securing a new role.Which industries are covered?The guide covers all eight of Reed’s specialist recruitment sectors in the Czech Republic. Whether you’re looking to hire, or become a junior accountant, electronic engineer or customer service manager, Reed’s guide features the insight you need to aid your decision making.The guide includes information on the following sectors:·       Accountancy & finance·       Banking·       Engineering·       Human resources & business support·       Multilingual shared services·       Procurement & supply chain·       Sales & marketing ·       TechnologyWhy you should download the salary guideThe Czech Republic salary guide 2022 features minimum, maximum and average salaries for hundreds of jobs at all seniorities across Prague and Brno. As well as the salaries on offer, the guide analyses key trends across all of Reed’s specialist recruitment sectors. We’ve highlighted the most interesting developments in each industry, as well as provided local insight from our recruitment experts. The guide also offers in-depth information about the country’s business landscape, analysing the results of a Reed survey of professionals on the salary and benefits they receive and those they desire.“This salary guide will help businesses plan for the rest of 2022 and ensure they have the right strategy in place to stand out from their competitors.” – Lenka Hnatkova, Principal Business Manager, ReedYou can download all of this for free – simply hit the button to access our multitude of salary and benefits data in the Czech Republic.

A four-day work week: the pros and cons
6 mins read
  1. Article

A four-day work week: the pros and cons

​​The past 2 years have given organisations time to consider how they operate, including the number of hours and days they require employees to work.It is no secret that the coronavirus pandemic has transformed the way we work in the UK, with many businesses having to abandon the office to work from home almost overnight. As well as this, over the last year we have seen the introduction of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the challenge of juggling home schooling, leaving many employers no choice but to allow for flexible working arrangements.With this sudden shift to working from home and an increase in hybrid working, we have seen more and more conversations around work-life balance and businesses questioning their ‘typical working week’.The five-day work week has become a cultural norm, especially in the UK, but after more than a year of change, is it time to rethink this approach and, if we do, would businesses continue to succeed? Or would productivity take a hit?We asked our LinkedIn followers: “Would you consider changing your company’s working hours to a four-day working week?”. With 919 votes, 50% said yes, but with the same hours, 33% said yes but with reduced hours, 12% said no, and 6% said they would consider it, but not at this time.With 83% of those surveyed in favour of a four-day week, there are many considerations companies must make when deciding if this is a course of action they would be willing to take.What is the case for a four-day work week?A four-day work week can be defined in two ways; the first is when an employee compresses their full-time hours (typically 35 hours) over a four-day period. And the second is reducing an employee’s hours (typically to 28 hours) over four days, so they are then able to have a three-day weekend.Many argue that, while the five-day work week used to be effective in the 19th century, it no longer suits the needs of the modern-day professional.With the evolution of technology, some day-to-day tasks are significantly more time-efficient, and with an uplift in office-based roles, we are seeing an argument that longer work hours do not necessarily mean staff are more productive.Notably, over the last couple of years, many countries across the globe including Japan, New Zealand, Spain - and most recently Iceland - have trialled the four-day work week to research the effect it has on its employees.Microsoft trialled four-day weeks in its Japanese offices and found the shortened work week led to more efficient meetings, happier workers and boosted productivity by a staggering 40%. Similarly, Iceland undertook a trial which monitored employees working reduced hours over a variety of public sector workplaces and found it to be an overall success, with 86% of the country's workforce now on a shorter work week for the same pay.In an article for the BBC, Will Stronge,  Director of Research at four-day week consultancy Autonomy, said: “It shows that the public sector is ripe for being a pioneer of shorter working weeks - and lessons can be learned for other governments.”In the UK, many businesses have also trialled the four-day work week, and some have even made the permanent switch. Gloucestershire-based PR agency Radioactive Public Relations trialled a four-day week for six months and found the business was even more profitable and employees’ sickness days were halved.What are the advantages of a four-day working week?Large and small-sized companies trialling the concept have created an evidence-base of the benefits a four-day working week could bring to your organisation.An increase in productivity levelsResearch has shown that working fewer hours boosts productivity levels. With employees spending less time at work, they can feel happier and more fulfilled, leading to them focusing on their job when in the workplace.A large New Zealand business, Perpetual Guardian, trialled a four-day work week and found not only a 20% rise in productivity, but work-life balance scores increased from 54% to 78%.Environmental and cost-saving benefitsShortening your working week means that employees do not need to commute as much, reducing their carbon footprint.As we have seen throughout the pandemic, those businesses with employees working on the same four days can save on overheads and in some cases even be eligible for tax relief.Happier employees and fewer absencesAccording to mental health charity Mind, one in six people report experiencing a common mental health problem in any given week in England, and one in five agreed that they have called in sick to avoid work.Four-day work weeks leave employees more time to focus on personal development or spend time with loved ones. This will not only increase employees’ happiness, but can contribute to fewer burnouts, leaving them to be more focused and happier in their role.Better recruitment and retentionThe increase of hybrid working and remote working during the pandemic has led to employees wanting greater flexibility from their employers.The CIPD reported that the majority of people think flexible working is positive for their quality of life, and 30% of people think it positively affects their mental health. So, offering potential new and existing employees a flexible working pattern is a fantastic way of attracting and retaining talented professionals.What are the disadvantages of a four-day working week?Whilst there are benefits to a four-day work week, there are disadvantages too:"A four-day work week wouldn’t work practically because of the need to cover more shifts during a time where we are already facing staff shortages."Not all industries can participateUnfortunately, the four-day working week model does not suit every sector. Some businesses or professions require a 24/7 presence which would make a shortened work week unpractical and, in some cases, delay work - creating longer lead times.A nurse who wanted to remain anonymous expressed her reservations about a four-day week in the healthcare sector, saying: “As an A&E nurse a four-day working week wouldn’t work practically for us. Currently, we work long 12+ hour shifts in order to have four days off, which I prefer as it provides more of a work-life balance. However, while I know a four-day working week would be better for some of my colleagues due to childcare, the shorter, more regular shifts we would have to do on a four-day week wouldn’t work. It would mean the need to cover more shifts during a time where we are already facing staff shortages.”Unutilised labourA four-day week is not for everyone; some employees prefer the structure of a five-day working week or would prefer to put in more hours than a four-day working week offers.Likewise, some professions have tasks which simply take more time than others, which would lead to paying more in overtime or drafting in further staff to make up the shortfall (as happened in healthcare for the Icelandic study), which can ultimately become expensive.Final thoughts: should your business adopt the four-day work week?Although the shortened work week has taken off in many European countries and been successful for many UK businesses, it is an extreme approach for a company to take and requires a shift in mindset from the employer and employees for it to work effectively, so it may not be for everyone.While a more flexible approach on working hours is now expected from employees, a less disruptive, more gradual process would be adopting a hybrid or flexible working policy instead.Likewise, as mentioned above, the four-day model may not work for all sectors. What studies and data have proven is that organisations who are putting more focus on maintaining staff wellbeing, engagement, morale, and productivity are reaping the benefits.​

Second interview questions to ask candidates
3 mins read
  1. Article

Second interview questions to ask candidates

​​​The second interview may seem like there is a light at the end of the tunnel after weeks of recruitment to find someone for an opening at your business. Your previous interviews have removed candidates who don't fit the role, which leaves only a handful of people, one of whom you most certainly will be working with in the near future. But working out who this person should be is often decided by running a second interview.The second interview is an important comparison task for you and your team and therefore the questions you use need to give you some real insight into the person you may employ. Yet, just as in your first round of interviews, asking the right questions can be crucial in order to understand if a candidate is suitable for the role.Although there are never a fixed set of questions to ask in the second interview, here are our selection of questions for employers to ask which will hopefully allow you to understand a candidate more fully before making a decision on who to hire.​Second interview questions to ask candidates:What are your personal long term career goals?The way your candidate answers this question will give you an insight into where they would position themselves within your company in the long term. If they answer directly referencing your business then they are thinking of remaining within the company for the future and will work hard towards achieving their own career goals whilst working hard for the business. It also allows for you to gauge their personality as their honesty will be very important when making a final decision about who to hire.Do you have any questions about the business or the role since your first interview?This gives your candidate the opportunity to ask questions they may not have thought of during the nerve-wracking first interview. This is good for both of you as it allows you to see how much they have prepared for this interview but also gives them the chance to ask the really good questions they probably thought of on the journey home from the first time they met you.What skills do you think are needed for this role?This does not directly ask them what they could offer but questions their ability to comprehend the role and think critically. It then invites them to state the skills they have and how they compare with what they think is needed.Why would you not be suitable for this role?This asks your candidate to think about problem and resolution - how they would overcome any professional issues they may have in the role. How positive they are in answering this question gives you an idea for their own motivation for achievement.What changes would you make at this company?This invites your candidate to analyse the business constructively from the research they may or may not have undertaken prior to the interview. It gives you the opportunity to see how they would deal with negative questions and how they would positively bring about change. Good answers could include more specific training or offering more responsibility to certain members of the team.How soon would you be able to start this role?This is quite a typical question but an important one as the logistics of taking on new staff can be an administrative nightmare. It can be purely comparative as some candidates will be able to start sooner than others. It also shows their commitment to their current roles and how professional they are in their conduct. If they mention leaving their current position without serving notice they may do this to your business as well.Ultimately, good questions are essential in establishing who will be best for your business. Hopefully, having met with a candidate for the second time, you will have a much better understanding of their skills, capabilities and – most importantly – whether or not they would be a good fit for your business.