Onboarding for the Remote Workforce
The shift towards remote and distributed teams poses unique challenges for remote employee onboarding. In our exclusive interview with Oleg Danylenko, CEO and Co-Founder of virtual office platform Teemyco, he explains that facilitating an inclusive “one team” culture can be difficult when people are dispersed across locations. However, leaders can effectively onboard remote team members with intentional strategies centered on human connection, technology infrastructure optimized for distributed teams, and visible engagement data.
Onboarding Challenges for Distributed Teams
In my interview, Danylenko outlined several key obstacles distributed teams face in onboarding new hires:
“Onboarding – New hires may feel disconnected from the organization and team.”
This sense of isolation stems from a lack of in-person interactions and water cooler moments that help embed company culture.
Teemyco's virtual office environment helps facilitate smooth remote onboarding by enabling new hires to connect and collaborate with colleagues easily. Without conscious efforts to welcome remote workers, onboarding processes designed for office-based teams fail to make virtual hires feel included. As Danylenko summarized:
“People who are individuals working maybe from South America or from another country in Europe, they felt that, okay, headquarters is where people meet, it's where things happen. And… they didn't really feel included in the same way.”
Tips for Onboarding Remote Employees
However, Danylenko suggests practical strategies to facilitate connections for distributed new hires:
Kick Off With Virtual Team Building
Dedicate time at the start of all projects or new hires for relationship building:
- Icebreakers and get-to-know-you questions
- Personality assessments
- Team charter creation outlining values and goals
As Danylenko explains:
“Use virtual team building activities to set the stage for psychological safety and cohesion.”
Create Welcome Spaces
Designate unique virtual spaces for new employees to mingle with team members:
“When you onboard new people, for the first week or two of this person's work, create a room called Welcome John and ask the person to hang out there from time to time in the first weeks.
This gives opportunity for other colleagues to jump in, say hi, introduce in kind of informal way not by scheduling one-on-ones with every single person in the company but in an informal way just making themselves available, signaling, hey I'm open too.”
Set Up Mentorship
Pair new hires with tenured team members for guidance and connections:
- Tailor mentor selection based on skills, interests, location
- Provide guides for suggested mentorship activities
- Check-in regularly on progress and challenges
Send Team Recognition
Public praise makes people feel valued and builds camaraderie. Danylenko advises managers to:
- Recognize contributions to key results
- Celebrate wins and milestones
- Show appreciation for collaboration
The Role of Technology
Teemyco provides dedicated spaces for remote employees to meet with managers and colleagues, ask questions freely, and feel connected during onboarding. In addition to the above human-focused recommendations, Danylenko emphasizes that technology infrastructure plays a crucial role in effective onboarding for distributed teams.
Specifically, he highlights how Teemyco's virtual office platform provides:
Visibility into team member availability and status
Enables spontaneous conversations to replicate water more incredible moments. Knowing if someone is focused or open to chat makes distributed teams more approachable.
Integrations with existing tools
Allows the use of familiar platforms like Slack without switching technologies. Provides centralized access from the virtual office.
Customizable virtual office design
Mirrors company brand and ways of working. Fosters inclusiveness by allowing remote workers to shape their digital space.
Analytics on engagement
Tracks interactions and surveys engagement over time to gauge connection levels. Refine approaches based on complex data.
As Danylenko notes, these features facilitate the informal social interactions imperative for distributed teams:
“Because if you think about it, when you want to talk to someone and you're, let's say you are remote. Technically, there are ways to do that, that existed since before internet. Like you can always call and that's direct communication. There are like things in different platforms that allow you to quick calls. But the main problem why people actually don't do it, it's because you don't have, you have zero understanding of what is the context of the person you're calling to.”
Onboarding Checklist for Remote Managers
Teemyco has onboarding resources like pre-designed spaces and suggested house rules to help managers effectively onboard remote teams using their virtual office. Based on Danylenko's advice, here is a checklist for managers striving to onboard remote employees effectively:
[ ] Appoint onboarding liaison to manage the process
[ ] Send welcome package with company swag
[ ] Share the org chart and critical contacts
[ ] Set up computer, email, and collaboration tools
[ ] Schedule virtual icebreakers and team building
[ ] Introduce to mentor and critical stakeholders
[ ] Review roles, responsibilities, and goals
[ ] Share docs outlining culture, values, and brand
[ ] Check in regularly on progress and challenges
[ ] Send team recognition to individual and project channels
[ ] Analyze platform analytics on engagement
[ ] Gather feedback via surveys and refine the approach
[ ] Encourage social interactions through informal channels
[ ] Enable watercooler moments focused on non-work topics
[ ] Celebrate employee milestones and achievements
Remote Employee Onboarding Conclusion
As a virtual office solution, Teemyco is a valuable remote employee onboarding tool that enables bonding experiences and simulates in-person interactions with the increasing distribution of teams and remote work, solidifying the new normal. Onboarding processes must adapt to meet modern needs. Leaders must intentionally foster human connections, provide infrastructure to enable spontaneity, and track engagement levels for distributed employees.
As Danylenko aptly states on nurturing one team culture:
“Distributed teams perform best when people trust each other, understand how their work fits together, and feel comfortable being themselves.”
The insights shared on Teemyco's virtual office platform demonstrate emerging best practices at the intersection of people, culture, and technology. By following an onboarding framework tailored for remote employees, managers can ensure new hires across locations feel valued, aligned, and impactful from day one.
Listen to the Software Spotlight Podcast with Teemyco: In this episode, host Michael Bernzweig interviews Co-founder Oleg Danylenko. The virtual office platform Teemyco aims to facilitate spontaneous interactions and relationship-building between distributed colleagues. Integrations with popular business tools allow users to collaborate in customized workspaces with visibility into team members' availability and status. Over 90% of survey respondents said Teemyco makes them feel more connected to colleagues. With simple per-user pricing, the platform helps unite hybrid and remote teams.