onboarding remote workers


If you have a business which has hired remote workers, then you have made the first steps to creating a business which will thrive in this busy industry.

Allowing remote workers to take the reins gives you more time to focus on responsibilities to make your company grow and succeed a lot faster than it would if you were doing it alone.

Now for the fun part. You have a great opportunity to onboard these new workers into your world by sharing your ideals and visions. This allows a more effective workforce and will go a long way to creating a successful workflow which will be both productive and successful in the future. Here are five actions you should be doing with a new remote worker in order to onboard them correctly.

#1 – Determine what communication channels to use

From the beginning of your onboarding process you must make an imperative statement which will allow remote workers to understand you want to stay in contact with them. Ask them which communication channels they like to use and determine if any of these are the ones you want workers using.

It is also a good idea to already have a platform in place for each worker to be added to when you perform the onboarding process. Once you learn their preferred platform of communication, get their usernames and information for these platforms and log it with the remote workers information.

After this, explain to them where you all will primarily be communicating and point out the importance for them to also create an account on this platform if they don’t already have one.

Some great communication platforms for workers are:

  • Skype
  • Slack
  • HipChat
  • Yammer
  • BitRix24
  • Hall
  • Pie (works great for mobile)
  • eXo Platform
  • Microsoft Lync
  • Fuze
  • Glip

Each of these platforms will keep workers on the communication trail and allow you to keep track at the same time. For more attributes, some of these have a payment option which will unlock a lot of different features for workers such as file sharing.

For keeping up with remote workers on a personal level, have them create accounts for WhatsApp and Viber. You will also need their personal contact information in case of emergencies as well.

#2 – Discuss working times

Having a game plan in place for remote workers should be your top priority. Do you want them to work together at the same time, or do you feel it would be better if you staggered their work throughout the day or into the night?

In doing the latter, an already onboarded worker who lives across the world could just be starting their day while you’re ending yours. This allows your business to stay productive around the clock. The downside of this is, if you don’t have standards set in place to help this worker when they need it you may be working out a problem at 3 o’clock in the morning.

Determine which schedules will work for each worker and set their work hours accordingly. For example, if they are writing content for your business, you will probably want them working the same hours as you. This way you can see real time results and edits as they go along and have a say in the process.

Working hours can be negotiated and you must determine the best options for your business and hiring workers who can work at these times.

#3 – Explain expectations for checking in and providing reports

As the boss, you will want to be in control of what’s going on around you. Having said that, you also want to be able to trust the worker to do the work completely without you standing over them full time.

Knowing this, you won’t be nitpicking every little thing they do as they do it, however, you will still want to see and hear from them every week or so to get new projects and orders.

This part is imperative to communicate with workers. They need to understand that on a given day at a certain time you will be expecting an update, a check-in, or a report based on the work and projects you have given them. Usually a worker will check-in every other day or so to let you know how it’s going or to ask any questions they have on the tasks you have given them.

It is always a good idea to sit down at least once a week with workers to go over goals for the month, projects, and future tasks so they can understand the vision of your company.

#4 – Communicate how to take time off and tell about emergencies

One of the worst things a remote worker will do to your business is to drop off the face of the earth without giving you a notice of any kind. When a worker does this, they put your entire company at risk.

Think about it this way. If this worker has a half dozen clients of yours and these clients are expecting work to be completed and all of a sudden no one can get in touch with the worker, clients begin to get anxious. They have paid you their hard earned money to complete a task for them and this absence falls not on the remote worker, but on you.

It’s important to tell workers your communication standards for time off and emergency situations. Ask yourself how much time would you need for a remote worker to tell you about a vacation they want to take. Is a month in advance good with you? If so, make sure they understand that.

Emergencies can happen. Everybody understands that. God forbid a remote worker’s son fell on his bike and they had to unexpectedly take them to the emergency room that day.

While this is a terrible situation for them to be in, in this digital age we live in (and the WhatsApp/Viber app you had them upload to their phone during onboarding) there should be no problem to send you a quick message updating you on their situation.

Make this clear from the beginning. You understand problems can arise, but they need to understand you are still running a business and need to know where they are if they can’t get their work done for the day.

#5 – Give the worker an idea of how their work will help company grow

This is one of my favorite parts about the onboarding of remote workers. Once you have hired them, you have accepted them into your family. It means you have given them an opportunity to show you how well they can work with your brand.

It really is an honor for them and a time they can show you what they’re made of. It’s important you communicate this idea with them. You’re looking forward to what they can do. Another exciting aspect of this point is the fact at how you hired them because you need their expertise to get your business to the next goal.

This part is ownership of your company. While they might not be a fiscal owner per se, you are handing them the keys to your business and saying “take me there”. It’s here you will discuss your visions of growth within your company, where you would like to see your business in the next year, and how the two of you can get there with the new workers help.

Together you can map out a plan to create an effective strategy of how their work can bring your business to the goals you have specified. It’s here you can listen to their opinions and gather more information into their views of your company and what they understand about it. Make sure you share as much information as possible with the worker and don’t hold anything back.

Sharing visions and goals, and also discussing strategy with a new worker can give them this sense of ownership within your company. You will possess them with the idea of success and a strong viewpoint of how they can help you grow. Ownership is nine-tenths of the law in this country and when they can possess it themselves, they can begin to see the roadmap to the goals and will begin working feverishly towards those goals without prodding or persuasion from you.

In Conclusion

Creating a company that will thrive and grow is what you have always wanted. Using remote workers can help you do that quickly. If this is your first time hiring a freelancer, learn from your past mistakes and keep plowing ahead because using these online workers can build your business effectively.

Don’t forget these five steps you need to take once you finally onboard workers into your company. They will help you see continuous growth and productivity and will allow you to start focusing on the bigger picture of your business.


Wade Harman writer


Wade Harman is a content writing wizard with an M.A. in Cognitive Psychology. He shares social media psychology and other marketing tips online related to cognitive trigger response. He loves to fish and read comic books for fun, to get the creative juices flowing.



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