Flexible working – working from both the office and home – is a practice that many businesses are set to offer as standard as the world opens up post-pandemic. For apprenticeships and work placements alike, this leaves many challenges for HR departments especially when it comes to integrating new joiners within the company culture from a remote location.
So what will the future of remote apprentices look like in 2021 and what should employers consider when rolling out new schemes?
1. The onboarding process will be more critical than ever
It’s important that apprentices know the culture of the company, who their direct contacts will be and what will be expected of them. If you have two or more new employees joining at the same time, ensure you have allocated time for them to get to know each other. Try and schedule a full team meeting or social at some point in their first week. It’s important to ensure they know they’re part of a team and what they’re doing day-to-day is having a positive impact on other people, even if they can’t directly see that.
2. Learning is going to take longer
Apprenticeships are all about learning on the job, which can be a lot easier when you’re in the same room as those you’re supposed to be working with. Be patient and remember it will take longer to pick up skills when being taught online instead of face-to-face. Make sure you offer opportunities for questions to be asked, as well as giving space for apprentices to get used to the tools themselves.
3. Helping to look after employee wellbeing will encourage an engaged workforce
It’s no longer enough to care for employees during just their regular hours. As an employer offering support in other aspects of their life – such as their private life – will be greatly received, especially as the lines between work and home continue to be blurred. New research from Reebok shows how body dysmorphia is extremely prevalent nowadays and without support can lead to an extreme lack of confidence. By helping look after employees health and wellbeing – both physical and mental – means that you will enjoy an engaged, positive and collaborative workforce.
4. Communication is key to a smooth transition
Communication is important in any business, more so when working remotely. Ensure apprentices know who they should be talking to and the best way to do this. There should be an open dialogue between the apprentice and their supervisor. For some, slack messages with weekly phone calls may be enough whereas others may benefit from daily catch-ups.
5. Flexibility and understanding the situation of each individual is key
As with every employee, every apprentice’s situation will be different. Ensuring communication channels are kept open means that you will be able to adapt and be flexible depending on the needs of each individual. Whereas rigid timelines once worked in order to keep everyone accountable, flexibility may be needed in order to ensure proper and thorough training is offered.