Love it or hate it, working remotely has become the new norm for many of us. While restrictions have eased (depending on your location), Tiny continues to employ a variety of remote tools and practices to maintain the wellbeing of its employees.
For newcomers, like myself, I’ve gone through the onboarding experience from the comfort of my home, the process of which has been outlined well within this article. I’m keen to discuss what my own experience has been like and how well remote onboarding actually works, especially for global virtual teams.
Onboarding via Zoom
It wouldn’t be a “remote working” blog post without the mention of Zoom; the conference platform has become a staple of communication for many of us.
I’m not going to lie, I was skeptical about using Zoom for onboarding. The platform has its obvious shortcomings like connectivity issues. Moreover, it’s difficult to express company culture through a screen to new recruits.
How do you illustrate company values while your new staff members are sitting in their homes?
While it was bizarre to be introduced to so many people through a computer screen, it was vital for building rapport between team members, and I was surprised how it helped me feel, almost instantly, like I was part of the team.
During my first week at Tiny, I was encouraged to have a get-to-know session with the head of each department. It was exciting, being able to have these conversations with people across the globe. This is something I would highly recommend companies do more often for new recruits because it develops trust vertically and horizontally throughout the organization, creating higher levels of synergy.
I never thought I would be able to connect with as many people as I have while working from home. I’ve had more one-on-one time with people than I would normally have had in an office, and I think that speaks volumes about how we can really capitalize on working from home.
Real chats vs the Slack app
Being a member of the Gen Z community, I grew up using messaging applications. So, using a chat app like Slack should feel comfortable for me, right?
Normally, I use apps such as Messenger, iMessage, and WhatsApp for connecting with people in my personal life. Now that I am using a chat app (Slack) in the workplace, I’ve had to rethink the way I type.
Are emojis allowed?
Does my tone of voice translate as friendly?
Do I sound unprofessional or too professional?
In the real world, I don’t have to think about this. Switching between talking to colleagues, then friends, and then family is a subconscious action. This highlights how blurred the lines are becoming between work and our personal lives, as work has now made its way into the digital channels that I once used solely for friends.
On the plus side, talking to coworkers is incredibly convenient. Reaching out to others is only a click away, and I’m able to be connected to the right information at the right time. This type of accessibility to coworkers has been so convenient, I daresay we won’t want to go back.
The motion of Notion & organizational transparency
Lastly, I want to talk about the main platform that helped guide me through my onboarding. At Tiny, we use a tool called Notion, which is essentially a collaborative note taking application (similar to Evernote). Here, all the information surrounding company processes is stored and is open for everyone to click through and learn from.
On my first day, I had tasks allocated to me in Notion, which I worked through until I got comfortable in the new role. I really appreciated having this because it gave structure to my onboarding experience. I wasn’t sitting around at home waiting for someone to give me more information - I actually had things to do.
Moreover, having public access to all department processes felt like the digital equivalent of open-space offices. Got a problem with my payroll? I’ll take a look at HR. A customer has a specific question? I know who to contact.
Transparency is key for organizational cohesion, and no matter the situation you’re in - remote or in the office - I cannot recommend enough trying to incorporate ways of creating transparency towards company processes.
The future of remote work and supporting tools
Based upon the software tools I’ve been speaking about, I think there’s a clear focus - the digitization of real-time collaboration.
Real-time collaboration technologies are what makes working from home a possibility, and I can guarantee that future trends will lean towards making real-time collaboration even more seamless. Check out our blog post that goes in-depth about the transition into digital workspaces and the expected trends.
Incidentally, I’ve heard Tiny has some efforts well underway that will be contributing to innovations in the real-time collaboration space. One of our most senior engineers posted the latest update on this exciting journey recently: A Tiny road to Reason. Watch this space for further updates.
We’re interested to hear what your remote experiences have been like! Let us know @joinTiny.