The Effects of Hybrid and Remote Work on Entry-Level Employees, and What Companies Can Do to Help
Published: Jun 01, 2023
These days, many college graduates are looking for in-person work, as there are certain concerns involved with hybrid and remote roles. Among these concerns is a lack of communication, less opportunity for a pay increase or promotion, and a work/life balance that’s far less than…ehem…balanced. These are all valid concerns, but there are things that companies can do to help make entry-level hybrid and remote hires feel more engaged. Today we’re going to take a look at some problems, as well as some solutions. Let’s begin.
When working remotely or in a hybrid role, young people might not get the type of feedback they really need as they’re starting out. For example, a “nice job” message from the boss on Slack is less impactful than the in-person version that is spoken in an energetic tone with an accompanying smile. Veteran employees already know what this is like, so the shift to remote or hybrid work paradigms won’t affect them nearly as much.
Sufficient feedback is incredibly important to early professional development. When someone goes above and beyond, there is a moment of camaraderie that instantly brings the team together and makes everyone feel more collectively motivated. Of course, this phenomenon occurs during remote work as well, but entry-level employees might have a hard time recognizing it if they’ve never experienced it in person.
Feelings of Isolation
Seasoned professionals who are now working from home know how to build and maintain relationships with their coworkers. Despite the change in scenery, they understand how to keep the lines of communication open, and how to address upper management. It is through our interactions with those around us that we begin to feel more connected to the organization as a whole, which can foster a positive workplace environment as well as increase productivity.
This is not to say that all young people who start off in a remote work setting will have trouble making such connections, but a lack of in-person communication can lead to feelings of isolation, which in turn can lead to a variety of mental health issues such as depression and anxiety—especially if a good portion of the individual’s social interactions take place digitally.
A large portion of the workforce has already had plenty of experience with the in-person, 9-5 work paradigm that was the staple of the professional world for many years. These individuals honed their craft in the physical presence of others, with the opportunity to learn alternative methods, or perhaps even tricks that make their job easier while increasing productivity. College prepares us for the professional world, but it’s not until we are actually doing what we set out to do that we learn the most valuable lessons.
Remote work might make it difficult for entry-level workers to tag along with more experienced professionals while working on projects. They might miss out on those alternative methods and time-saving tricks, or they might feel as though they’re making little progress in their craft. If this is the case, it could have a negative impact on an individual’s motivation and productivity. Furthermore, it could lead to a loss of interest for their chosen career, and to many missed opportunities.
What Can Be Done
There are many things companies can do to help make entry-level remote workers feel more engaged. For starters, companies can hold quarterly in-person get togethers that take place in a low-pressure setting, where new employees can get the opportunity to meet with their coworkers and the leadership team. Such get togethers can also be conducted via Zoom or Slack, although they may be less impactful.
Another thing companies can do is communicate regularly with entry-level hires. It’s important to let new hires know they’re noticed, and that they can speak up if they have a question or if they’re having trouble. With this sort of communication, it’s important to maintain transparency so that entry-level hires aren’t afraid to share any problems they may be experiencing.
The good old “buddy system” would work very well in a remote setting. Companies can have senior-level employees join entry-level hires on Zoom calls and walk them through their projects, providing sage advice and guidance in those all-important beginning moments. Internships often offer a similar perk in the form of professional mentorship, which could go a long way to helping new hires feel more comfortable and involved.
Perhaps the best way to help new remote and hybrid hires feel more engaged is to have them come in to the office for some classic, in-person work. This could be a training period, or a mandatory in-person probation period where new hires come in and meet certain members of the leadership team, while learning about the company culture.
By now we’ve all seen plenty of information on how remote work can increase productivity and reduce stress among workers; however, for young people who are just starting out, hybrid and remote paradigms might prove to be troublesome in certain areas. Companies should work to identify any potential problems, and find ways to remedy them so that entry-level hires feel more connected and motivated.