WORKING FROM HOME … A LASTING TREND? UPDATE

WORKING FROM HOME … A LASTING TREND?

The Jury Is In … The Verdict is “YES”

Working from Home

In the July 2020 issue of the Staffing Solutions Newsletter, we addressed the question …

WORKING FROM HOME … A LASTING TREND

Yes? … No? … Maybe?

The C-19 pandemic forced social distancing. The result is a fast-track to working remotely. None of us like the prospect of change, including employers and workers. Employers were wary of losing control with the risk of diminished productivity. Employees expressed concerns of being “out of sight, out of mind” … meaning the risk of being judged expendable.

Well, as it turns out the fears of both employers and workers prove to be largely unfounded. Not only has productivity not suffered, employees report an enhanced satisfaction in work-life balance. Additionally, both parties are positively impacted by money … employers in overhead savings; employees in commuting expenses.

An added plus in transitioning to increased telecommuting is supportive technology. Click here to review some examples.

Working from Home is Here To Stay!

The conclusion for hiring managers is that the future is now. A gradual move toward working remotely may have developed in the absence of coronavirus. However, the pandemic has accelerated acceptance to the point organizations that did not allow employees to work from home before the pandemic will have a difficult time enforcing that policy after COVID-19.

This unexpected social distancing/work-from-home mandate has forced many companies to accept remote work as a matter of business continuity. To recruit and retain employees in the future, those same organizations will continue a policy of flexibility for employees to choose their work location.

That means the adoption of new recruiting, interviewing and onboarding techniques is critical. In this article, we’ll take a look at interviewing and 5 tips for onboarding remote workers.

Interviewing

In these pandemic-era hiring days, in-person face-to-face interviewing is often not an option. Virtual interviews are the answer. Thankfully, there is affordable technology to facilitate interviewing remotely. Some examples and links for more information are:

Onboarding Remote Workers – 5 Tips

The importance of onboarding cannot be overstated … particularly as it relates to employees working remotely. Effective onboarding is proven to reduce turnover, increase employee engagement, accelerate time to proficiency and deliver significant cost savings.

 

That said, remote workers have different needs than those working on-site. So, successful onboarding will recognize and address those unique requirements. Consider these 5 tips for improved onboarding of this increasingly large segment of the American workforce.

 

  1. Paperwork: Depending on your budgetary and technology constraints, you may rely on very elementary procedures to process required recruiting and new-hire paperwork. That means relying on the basics such as email and scanning documents, etc. Alternatively, there are software offerings that may simplify your work. Here are some to consider.
  2. Welcome Aboard! Reinforce a new-hire’s decision to accept your offer. Your payoff is to avoid the 11 percent of people reported to change their minds. Be sure to communicate what the new employee can expect in the onboarding process. Encourage employees with whom the new-hire will be working to join in reaching out with a warm “looking forward to our work together” message.
  3. Tools of the Trade: Remote workers may or may not have a properly equipped home office. Be sure to identify what is necessary to perform their job and be prepared to fill in the gaps. Having access to the right tools and technology from day-one ensures new virtual hires can hit the ground running immediately … plus, your new-hire will be pleased to know you view them as a priority.
  4. Set Expectations: If you haven’t done so, prepare a policy statement on remote work. Include the hours you expect employees to be available for virtual meetings as well as setting schedules and routines that work best for the individual and fulfill the requirements of the job.
  5. The Human Element of Support: Coaches, mentors and a “buddy system” can all provide backing as your virtual new-hire learns the ropes. Managers should schedule frequent “touch-base” sessions to provide guidance and coaching. Additionally, the manager or another capable employee may be assigned as a mentor to provide direction as needed. Assigning the role of a seasoned “buddy” provides an informal resource to ask questions about company culture and internal functions.

Takeaways

The challenge for employers is how to engage remote employees. Importantly, three guiding principles remain constant regardless of where an employee is working. Each distills down to effective communication by management.

  1. One of the strongest human needs is to have a sense of belonging.
  2. Basic management practices don’t change … just the delivery vehicles to remote workers.C
  3. Communication is a two-way street.

Onboarding isn’t optional. New virtual hires need to learn the basics of their jobs, understand corporate culture and have the necessary tools and human resources to be successful. In summary:

  • Communicate your expectations including clear and measurable goals.
  • Schedule a daily check-in via media. (more on that later)
  • Be alert and offer help to overcome challenges that come with telecommuting.
  • Empower remote employees to make their own decisions, communicate and implement new ideas.
  • Encourage employee collaboration and communication to learn from each other and stay connected as a team.
  • Choose the right communication tools; don’t rely on email as your primary medium

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