1) INDUCTION PACKAGE
This is one of the most important steps in on-boarding new staff to a remote area. Hopefully, you have completed a thorough recruitment process and your new staff member is fully aware of the community/accommodation and their duties.
All employers need to have a supportive and thorough Induction process, with remote based staff it’s crucial that the following are included and delivered as soon as the employee is on site.
- Cultural Awareness
- Community Specific Services available-opening times
- Accommodation details-Electricity, Gas, Emergencies
- Phone numbers-Emergency
2) SETTLE-IN DAY
Don’t rush your new staff member into duties on Day 1, allow them time to settle in, drive them around the community, be a tour guide showing them places of interest, areas that are off limits etc. Allow them time to unpack and settle into their accommodation, if sharing introduce them to their new housemates allowing time to connect. Welcome Pack – Have some necessities to assist, the shops may not be open when they arrive: Coffee, Tea, Milk, Fresh fruit for example.
3) MENTAL HEALTH STRATEGY
Promote a work/life balance. In remote areas, it can be difficult to just go for a drive or walk to clear your head.
Promote programs that are are available in the community or develop them.
Discuss mental health in the workplace. Make it a priority and a standing agenda item at Staff Meetings.Talk about EAP benefits often.
Make wellness a priority and reduce the stigma. Create a Mental Health Strategy for your workplace.
4) EXERCISE EQUIPMENT
Where possible give access to exercise equipment to keep staff healthy and fit, a simple treadmill can help keep staff fit and motivated. Start a walking club so exercise can be enjoyed outdoors in a safe environment, we know how cheeky some dogs in the community are!
Healthy Body Healthy Mind
5) REGULAR TIME OUT
When you work & live in a remote community, your days are filled with seeing the same faces and working/living closely with the same people each day. Access to services such as Specialists, Hairdressers, etc is non-existent or limited.
The ability to “get out ” of community on a regular basis helps staff organise these things at regular intervals and gives them much needed time out. Breaks every 6 Weeks at the minimum.
6) FIND REASONS TO CELEBRATE
It brings people together. Celebrating one moment can positively affect many. Having positive interactions at work boosts productivity and morale.
Think special days, milestones, anniversaries etc. Easter, Melbourne Cup, International Women day are just a few.
Make coming to work both fun & productive. Laughter is the best medicine.
Living and working remote are isolating enough, Workplaces need to make sure communication is timely and on point.
Small communities can often mean “gossip” make sure staff are aware of any required info before it “hits the streets”.
Any Community events should be communicated to all.
Staff feel less isolated when they are kept informed.
Remote living and working is a privilege that I have enjoyed immensely, though at times it has been difficult being away from my own family and having access to ” big city ” services.
Would love to hear your thoughts,ideas and experiences on this topic.
PREPARED BY: VIRTUALLY 2019 RECRUIT & RETAIN