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Onboarding remote workers – What are companies doing?

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Onboarding new employees is one of the key aspects of success when bringing someone new to the team. It could make the difference between having a long term relationship or having to start the recruitment process again. As you know recruitment is not something cheap, not in monetary terms, neither in terms of time and effort.

More and more companies are now becoming 100% remote and it is hard to bring someone to a team when you are not interacting with others in the same office. At least that is what people would tell you before COVID. For that reason, and if you are thinking on moving your company to a remote way of working, we wanted to help you with onboarding remote workers.

We have been speaking to business owners and HR professionals to make sure we could share their best practices, tools, tips and what is working for other them. Advice that we hope will help you in the process of creating an amazing onboarding process.

1. Make sure you have the right people to work at a remote company.

One thing we have all seen, is that remote work is not for everyone. Some people are really looking forward to that combination of life and work. However, not everyone is ready not to meet their piers in person, or to have to be self disciplined. My personal advise is not to force things. If you have the right candidate for a role, but they are not sure about remote working, they might not be the right candidate.

2. Onboarding starts from the very beginning of recruitment, it is not about what to do when they enter the company, make sure they know what remote work is about and they could be happy doing the role. “I have been working with remote companies since 2015 and the biggest challenge was to explain to new members of the team that the company was not an scamm” says Carlota Montoro, who builds HR departments for international remote companies. “It was not easy to attract talent to these companies as talent wanted to feel that at some point they would meet the team. I had to explain that the onboarding process involved meetings, videos and an structured organised learning path to make them feel they could do the job. Unfortunately not everyone is ready to work from home” says Carlota.

3. Clear objectives and SOPs before they join the company.

Alex Shute is an entrepeneur who has been working with remote workers for 5 years now, and he mentioned that “When hiring and onboarding remote workers, communication and setting expectations are absolutely essential. Having very clear and detailed SOPs (Systems and Processes) that are well documented will make the onboarding process go smoothly. Once a new remote employee is hired it is best to let them know exactly how long the onboarding process will last, what is expected of them, and how you as the employer will be judging their success or failure with the work.” I would personally add to what Alex mentioned that this is important to every onboarding process.

Alex explains how for him it works to give measurable responsibilities and allow them to accomplish those tasks in a timely manner rather than micromanaging. It is important to give remote employees the resources they need to successfully carry out their work. Being available to answer their questions is also key, but these questions should only be raised if they are not able to find an answer in their onboarding documentation or from a fellow remote worker.

4. SOPs and Objectives are good, but allow them some flexibility 🙂

At Tidio, their head of People, Ewelina Melon shared with us that they do a very specific plan and tasks for their onboarding, but they allow them some freedom to have time to adapt and learn at their own pace. Her advice is not to squizz all meetings in few days so they can really learn about the company.

5. Make the onboarding social, even if is remotely.

At CocoDoc they tried as much as they could, to take their company culture onto the remote platform. Our working environment has always been relaxed, dynamic, and fast moving. “Even though it’s been hard to replicate the same in full, we’ve tried to make it work by creating space for social chats, and opening communication channels for better communication.The coffee-maker side chat has always been a hallowed ground for our employee’s well being.While working remotely, we’ve tried to build on this by creating a specific slack channel for people to chat when they need to.” said Alina Clark, one of their founders.

“We’ve also taken our team building activities to the remote level. It’s not all zooming and conference calls for us. We often organize online team challenges and games to incentivize team gelling.”

Gary Bury, one of our previous guest bloggers gave us some tips on team building for remote workers and it could also work for your Social remote onboarding

6. Make sure everyone knows the basics before joining

Alina Clark, at CocoDoc mentioned that their biggest mistake was assuming everyone would know how to use the tools. they were working in the tech industry, right? It turned out, they were wrong 🙂

7. Breaks are important, even when working from home. Make sure they know this from the very beginning.

Mark Webster is the owner of, which is a fully remote company and he has been handling the onboarding of his companies for 7 years now. This is his advice:

“Remember to set clearly defined breaks and rest periods” said Webster. “When an employee is new to the company, in the vast majority of cases they’ll want to make a good impression by staying focused and ready throughout the day. The problem is, especially in a remote environment, it’s not healthy to have an employee sat staring solidly at a screen for 8 hours a day during the training process.” We agree with Mark, sometimes managers forget to take care of employees while working remotely and it is extremely important to keep in mind mental wellness so they don’t burn out.

“It’s important to make sure that you remind your new employee to take a break, grab a drink or go for a walk and ease them into this style of working”.

Mark webster, ceo at

I would also add to what Mark mentioned that checking from time to time it is also important to remind them that you care about them. Having a good and caring culture is extremely important when working remotely.

8. Say thank you from time to time.

Saying thank you it is one of the easiest way to show that you really care, but it not only does the trick for caring, also to promote gratitude as part of the real culture of the company. I wrote an article about gratitude some time ago with a real example that happened to me while working in a HR consultancy in London that could illustrate what I mean by this.

9. Make their first day at work special

close up photography of person wearing pink house slippers
  • At Tidio, they do their first day really special, even if is remotely. Not only they receive a welcome package, but they also receive slippers! (which they also wear at the office.

There are many other things you can consider when Onboarding remote employees, and you can always check our previous articles about planning the perfect onboarding and what to do on the first day of work of one of your employees. The previous list is a summary of what is working for others. Share in the comments what is working for your company when introducing new remote members to your team.


  1. Make sure you have the right people to work at a remote company.
  2. Onboarding begins at recruitment.
  3. Clear Objectives and SOPs before they join the company.
  4. Objectives and SOPs are good, but allow some flexibility.
  5. Make the Onboarding Social, even if is remotely.
  6. Make sure everyone knows the basics before joining.
  7. Breaks are important.
  8. Say thank you from time to time.
  9. Make their first day special.

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