How Flex Workspaces Improve Your Onboarding Process

There’s an interesting phenomenon surrounding the distributed workplace.

The questions about how we work become more important than ever now that the 9-5 office is no longer the default. It’s an exciting time because the way we work is now a valuable tool for companies, Workplace, and People teams to use to make employees happier, more engaged, and connected.

While talking to remote and flexible companies across the world, we noticed there is an area where access to workspaces can shape how employees feel about their job: onboarding new hires. Let’s dive in and see how you can use flex workspaces to fine-tune onboarding new team members 👇

Using the workplace as a tool for engagement and trust-building

In a world where we don’t work physically together by default, every visit to an office or flex workspace needs to be purposefull and intentional. And for most of us, that purpose is to see the people we work with in person, build trust, and strengthen relationships.

When your team is distributed across the US or even the world, it can get complicated to track and design those experiences centrally – and that’s when you want to offer everyone a flex workspace they can go to whenever they want.

Offering this type of supported flexibility, where employees aren’t just left to their own devices to navigate remote work, is a great tool to attract the best candidates and give them a top-notch experience. But it can also serve companies during the onboarding process and help them cement feelings of support, engagement, and connection with a new hire.

Example: How Augury provides flex spaces for new hires quickly

For the team at Augury, making sure every employee who joins has access to a workspace nearby is a matter of designing equitable experiences for all team members. To help them speed up the process, they use Gable to ensure the new hire has their space ready as soon as possible, without delays and red tape.

Then, they give them the flexibility to head into the workspace by themselves for focused work or get their team together to connect. “Our team has the freedom to book spaces, invite friends, and create an environment they need – build their own ships.”

Structure the employees’ first week at work

If you offer flex workspaces to employees, use them to make sure they feel welcome on their first day and week on the new job. For some folks, spending their first day in a coworking space instead of their home office can help them settle in without distractions and overcome the anxiety of a new start.

If the new employee has team members living in the same city, you can nudge them to organize a meetup during the first week of a new hire joining to get them acquainted with the team and start building relationships right off the bat.

It’s also a good idea to suggest to the employee to take the end-of-week meeting with their manager or People Ops team in a nearby remote workspace. Like the previous suggestions, this one can also help them focus on navigating their place in the company, assess how they’re doing with onboarding, and ensure they have a quiet place (like a phone booth) to take calls and focus on their experience during the first 7 days.

Having any or all of these options available for your new hire will showcase your company’s belief in flexibility, but it will also reinforce the feeling that the new team member is being taken care of. You’re not just telling them to work from home – you’re giving them options, considering use cases, and putting their needs first. Any new hire will appreciate the level of detail and care that goes into their onboarding.

Round up their first 30 days with in-person connections

In your onboarding documentation, make sure to call out the different scenarios employees can use flex workspaces during their first month on the job.

For example, if they have a 30-day check-in at the end of the first month (and they should, it’s really important), they can work from a coworking space nearby that day. And to make things even better, have their manager do the same – if they’re in the same city, they can meet in person; if not, it’s a good thing to have both people coming into a workspace on the same day.

On top of that, you can propose organizing a happy hour with the team from their area, whether they work in the same department or not. Depending on how many employees you have in every geographic region, the use cases can vary, but even when it’s not their core team meeting up, it’s still an invaluable chance to nurture relationships across departments.

Pro tip: If you genuinely want to foster a culture of connection in your remote teams, encourage all employees to organize and host events to meet in person, socialize, and enhance the social fabric of the company. See our guide on how to organize company events easily >>>

Provide space for relationship building after the first month

Teams who respect each other, share a common vision, and trust one another are more likely to succeed and have outstanding results – that’s just a fact.

And in a distributed world, companies are using the workplace as a tool to benefit from the time employees spend in person. Even though creating connections can be the biggest challenge of remote companies, regular in-person meetings can have long-lasting effects.

After your new employee wraps up their first 30 days with the company, make it a priority to let them know your workplace is truly flexible and adaptable to their (sometimes evolving) needs. Document the different challenges they may face and how they can benefit from the company’s flex space offering:

  • They can book a coworking space whenever they need a change of scenery
  • They can head to a meeting room with their team to work on important tasks like presentations, client calls, or quarterly team meetings
  • They can get their team together every other week on a hybrid meeting, host team events, or encourage after-hours activities that help them connect

And the best part? You can measure everything.

For new employees, having the opportunity to work flexibly and remotely is maybe enough to join your company, but to make them engaged enough to stick around, you need to show them you care about accommodating their needs on a day-to-day basis.

And for you as a People or Workplace expert, this needs to be an effort you can monitor and measure, so you can report on things like:

  • Facilitating connections: How many times did the new hire meet up with coworkers in their first 30/60/days? Did this trend continue during their first year on the job?
  • Type of workspace used: Do new hires need space for deep work and changing scenery (like a coworking space) or meeting up and getting to know their team?
  • Budget spending: What is the average monthly budget a new hire spends during their first quarter with the company? Does that spending stay the same after the first quarter?
  • The impact of workspace access on engagement: Do new hires have a positive impression of the workspaces they have at their disposal? Is there a difference in engagement scores with new hires who use flex workspaces regularly vs? those who don’t?

For Augury, being able to monitor and track how employees use flex workspaces is essential: ”Coworking memberships are not scalable. You can't see if people are actually going into the spaces. So they can get a $300 membership and don’t show up all month. For me, that's a wasted resource and one I don’t have visibility into.”

A well-designed onboarding experience makes all the difference

In a distributed, flexible world, the workplace and how you weave it into the onboarding process can give you a competitive edge in retaining new hires and getting them to connect with their new role quickly and efficiently.

To make the most of your onboarding experience, double down on flexible workspaces, provide space for relationship building, and structure how new hires spend time with their team in person. You’ll see results in the form of high engagement, tangible connections built, and skyrocketing employee happiness.

Schedule Your Workplace Policy Session

We’re excited to hear your policy, show you how others are tackling challenges are doing, and give you practical advice.
Let’s talk
Andrea Rajic