When I began my job search in 2020 I asked the same question in every interview: How is your company handling the pandemic? The most important part of every answer for me was that employees were currently remote and that there would be a transition to a hybrid work environment in the future. Starting a new job remotely was important for me not only given the safety concerns surrounding COVID, but also because it would alleviate some of the anxiety that accompanies the start of a new role. I would avoid the first-day jitters. I wouldn’t be overwhelmed by going into an unfamiliar office and meeting people in person. The ability to introduce myself and understand my new role from the comfort of my home was a huge plus for me. However, with all of the positives that starting a job remotely offered, it also came with its own unique set of challenges.
I was fortunate enough to have joined Workhuman®– a company where there was a lot of time and care put into the remote onboarding process. Onboarding consisted of numerous Zoom sessions over the course of two weeks where presentations were given from every department in the organization. I found that during these meetings I was able to pay more attention to the information presented being at home than I would have if onboarding happened in the office. I had fewer distractions than there would be on a first day in a new environment, surrounded by new faces.
I also had the opportunity to virtually meet co-workers individually during my first few weeks. I found this to be extremely valuable, as I was able to get a better sense of how I would work with different people by simply throwing a 30-minute Zoom meeting on their calendar. I don’t know how inclined I would be to put 30 minutes on someone’s calendar to just chat if I were doing it in person.
Conversely, now that I am a few months into my tenure at Workhuman, I often think about the many benefits of being in the office. Asking quick questions, learning new processes, and simply chatting with a co-worker would all be easier if everyone was a short walk away from one another. Less things would get lost in translation online and there wouldn’t be as many miscommunications from going back-and-forth via email. There is something to be said for being able to interact in person with your coworkers. I feel this more now, especially since I have had the opportunity to safely meet my coworkers in person at our offices and would love to be able to see them and utilize everything the facility has to offer on a regular basis.
And while I look forward to having these in person connections again soon, technology has provided us with an amazing ability to communicate with our coworkers and not only survive, but thrive, while working from home. Workhuman’s social recognition program, for example, connects me with my coworkers daily, despite being miles away from one another. When I received my first recognition moment, I truly felt like a part of my team and understood the values of the organization. It’s difficult to feel fully immersed in the company’s culture when you’ve never met anyone face-to-face, but social recognition added an extra layer of personal connection that I needed, especially during the onboarding process.
But technology will never be able to fully replace what human connection does for a workforce. That’s why I’m choosing to adopt a hybrid model when the time is right to return to the office. The comfort and convenience of working from home balanced with my personal need to see others in person and experience the routine of commuting to an office once again is the perfect solution to the challenges being fully remote has posed.
There is no one-size-fits-all model for businesses and employees. I am more on the shy side when it comes to starting a job, but now that I have gained some confidence and comfortability in my role, I am looking forward to working in person. I know others who feel the same, and some who feel completely opposite, wanting to be in the office every day, or not at all. Whatever your company’s return-to-work model is, it should take into consideration the wants and needs of employees.
And if you’re interested in joining a more human workplace, we are hiring! Visit Workhuman’s career page and find out what a culture of recognition can do for you.Check it out.
About the AuthorMore Content by Taylor Carey