The world has suddenly found itself embracing remote work due to the Coronavirus. It’s going to be very hard to put the genie of all those old objections back in the bottle when this is over, even though trying to work from home during a pandemic is very different to working from home under normal circumstances. The next step for any company is to fully embrace the world of remote work, and hire the best people for the job, regardless of where in the world they live – going fully remote.
If you’re thinking of taking that step, here’s what you need to know.
The Hiring Process
If you’re used to hiring people who live in the same city, it can be hard to imagine finding people who are halfway around the world. You can DIY, of course, and post your vacancy as remote to LinkedIn or some other job board, but you will still need to deal with the additional admin of taking on someone who lives in a different country. That’s where specialist recruitment agencies come in; they can take care of the HR aspects for you, and find you a remote candidate more quickly than regular hiring practices.
Hiring overseas got a bad name back in the 90’s when the practice first started, because it was motivated by financial decisions. Call centre jobs and even IT jobs were outsourced to other countries because the bottom line looked better that way. Unfortunately, not all outsourcing worked well, and for many managers the memories of projects gone awry still linger.
It is still true that you can find a quality staff member who works in a different country who will cost you less in salary because their cost of living is less than yours. The balancing act is making sure that the candidate has the right skills, first and foremost, particularly with IT Professionals who are so integral to the success of your company.
The Benefits of Remote
Remote workers are more productive. That’s been proved beyond any doubt now, through many studies including this one from Stanford. But increased productivity isn’t the only way that hiring remote gets you better value for money. There’s also the question of lowered costs; you’ll need less office space, desks, chairs, and consumables. Because your staff are happier, with a better work life balance and no commute, you’ll see absence due to ill health and increased staff retention which helps reduce your hiring costs.
It isn’t just the bottom line, though. As we’ve all seen during Coronavirus, the daily commute has a severe impact on the environment. Let your people work from home, and you can actually help save the planet.
Remote teams are also more diverse; not only do they bring people of different cultures together, they also give you access to employees who find getting into the office difficult, and that includes people with health concerns, disabilities, or working parents.
Technology and Tools
The remote work movement has been spearheaded by technical staff, and as such they’ve created a whole raft of tools to support working from anywhere. We’re talking about cloud-based software, video conferencing, collaboration tools such as interactive whiteboards and project management software, and ways to socialise together online.
This might sound like a lot, but if you stop right now and do an audit, you probably have everything you need to manage a remote team. Video and voice call, email, project management software and file sharing. That’s about it! In fact many companies are turning to using these ‘remote tools’ even for in-office workers because receiving a notification on Slack is far less intrusive than someone turning up at your desk.
Onboarding is something you really have to get right with a remote team member, because we all know that people work best when they feel that they have a sense of belonging to a team or organization. It’s possible to onboard new team members really effectively using remote collaboration tools; video conferencing and screen sharing take the place of a series of meetings to get to know everyone.
Where onboarding does differ is in setting expectations. You will need to be clear with your remote worker whether you’re going to adopt flexible working practices as long as work gets done, or if you expect them to keep office hours and always be available on chat. You’ll also need a communications policy to make sure that everyone stays on the same page.
Managing Remote Workers
If you’re a micromanager, then remote working probably isn’t for you. If there’s one unifying characteristic of remote workers, it’s that they are self-sufficient; if you’re checking in every five minutes at best you’ll be a distraction and at worst you’ll make them feel that you don’t trust them. Trust is vital for effective remote relationships.
The best thing that you can do to become a great remote manager is to get communication right; and doing that will take some experimentation. Check in often enough that you remain in touch with what is happening in your team, but not so often you stop progress. Daily check-ins are effective, but that can be as little as updating the project management software to as much as a daily video call depending on what you do.
Remote is Here to Stay
Even if the majority of people return to work once COVID-19 is a memory, remote work has been one of the fastest rising sectors in recruitment for a long time, and looks set to move even faster now more people have been given a taste of the freedom it can bring – and companies have seen the many benefits.
Sharon Koifman believes every company, from the biggest enterprise to the newly-launched garage startup, should have access to the world’s top talent. That’s why he used over 15 years of experience in the tech industry recruitment & HR to create Distant Job, a recruitment agency that specializes in remote employees.
His unique recruitment model allows DistantJob’s client to get exceptional better fitting talents at an incredible value.