I was hired in late 2021 as a fully remote SDET working from sunny Glasgow, Scotland with only visits to the office on 1–2 occasions per quarter.
Whilst initially I thought remote onboarding would be an alienating, difficult experience, I was very quickly proven wrong by my manager and team mates, and this is what I learned throughout the process.
Choosing the play
I believe the organisation’s readiness to onboard employees is only as good as the employee’s willingness to engage with the process and provide feedback on their experience. My future line manager had done a fantastic job from the very beginning:
- Initial coffee chat ☕️
A couple of weeks before my official start date at DAZN, my manager reached out to me via LinkedIn to organise a short, informal video call, which gave me the chance to ask about my first day and week with the company, get a brief introduction to the team, and work out some preliminary details such as delivery of a work laptop.
- Regular check-ins 🗓
There were 3 short calls setup throughout my first day, which allowed me to break up the day into manageable chunks and work through a heap of the new starter content, with a chance for any questions I had along the way.
- Encourage proactiveness 🙋🏻♂️
Your new team mates likely won’t bite so I was encouraged to go ahead and schedule in short catchups with each person throughout your first couple of weeks — even some virtual face-to-face time will strengthen the initial relationships and put you in good standing with your team.
Running the play
Your job as a remote (or otherwise) new joiner is to soak in as much information as you can during your first few weeks, take in the processes within which you’ll be working, and record any notes on improving the onboarding process based on your own experience.
Try and get an in-office day organised not too long after your start date so you can meet the team, and put faces to names. Once I settled into a nice routine working remotely, there’s some key aspects which I found very helpful to staying productive:
- Invest in your workspace 👨🏻💻
If you can, get kitted out with a large external monitor, a laptop stand, a microphone, keyboard and trackpad, and I find having something to fidget with during calls is engaging, personally I’ve opted for some poker chips.
- Turn your camera on 📸
Yes, you might not be dressed in business casual, but seeing faces on video calls keeps people engaged, and in my case this applies more to 1–2–1 calls for debugging sessions or catchups.
- Have a mini commute🚶🏻
Sticking to set start/finish times really helps keeps you grounded, and avoiding burnout when working remotely. In the mornings, I sometimes like to go for a short walk to reset and and be in the right mindset when I come back in to start work.
- Communication is key🎙
Cannot stress this point enough — as a remote employee you need to treat your communication approach as if you’re in the office sitting next to your colleagues. Do not hesitate to ping them a message for small queries, and jump into quick calls for debugging or pairing sessions. When you’re away for lunch or nipping out for a coffee, set your status to reflect this on Teams.
Reaping the benefits
When done correctly, with the chance for both parties to provide feedback throughout the process, remote onboarding is a breeze, that will only strengthen DAZN’s capability to hire and retain the best talent, regardless of location.
Are you a fully remote DAZN employee? Feel free to get in touch for a virtual coffee and a chat ☕️