The coronavirus crisis has forced organizations to try out remote work arrangements whenever possible, whether they were ready to do so or not. Some organizations had been doing this for years, and the transition was pretty simple. Others had been resistant to the idea but came around because it was the best option to continue getting work done while social distancing.
Given this situation, many employers have discovered that, with the right tools, remote work not only is possible but also can actually work really well. Productivity did not take the dip some were fearing. In fact, many employees working remotely end up doing more work than before due to the absence of a commute and no clear cut-off time to leave to go home.
Going forward, this means many organizations will be hiring directly for roles that will start and remain remote. While some may transition back to more in-person visits once social distancing guidelines are eased, others will work full time remotely and stay that way.
Here are some tips for employers looking to hire directly for remote positions:
- You may need to post jobs in different ways than before. Research good places to post remote-only jobs to expand your reach.
- The organization will have to take extra steps to ensure new hires have the tools they need. That may mean shipping computers and getting them set up remotely, for example, or getting them set up in one location and shipped to another. It may mean having IT support available to help with system setup for new people or get additional software installed to ensure security is not compromised during remote work.
- Some employee skills take on a higher importance in remote work, and employers will need to search for these directly. Good time management is definitely one, especially in the absence of an office environment. Another is communication skills. This is true regardless of whether someone works remotely, but it’s even more important for someone who will have limited face time. These individuals need to understand the importance of prompt communication and follow-up.
- The organization will need to ensure the hiring process still creates a good candidate experience, even if the process itself is mostly remote. Use videoconferencing tools instead of phone calls whenever possible. Ensure communication is frequent and the candidate is kept aware of the process and where he or she is in it.
- Continue to focus on enhancing your employment brand. Employer reputation can be easily found online these days, and it’s often all a candidate has to do when deciding whether to accept a job.
- Consider updating the benefits on offer to have options that are helpful for remote employees. Things like access to coworking spaces and gym discounts can be useful, as can stipends to set up or enhance a home office.
- Ensure expectations are set clearly when you hire someone for a remote role. Remote may or may not mean set working hours. If it does, say so. If there are specific expectations in terms of how quickly e-mails and phone calls are responded to, say so. Be clear in what is expected to avoid surprises.
As more employers are allowing more of their teams to work remotely, we’ll have to get better at recruiting, keeping these tips in mind.
Bridget Miller is a business consultant with a specialized MBA in International Economics and Management, which provides a unique perspective on business challenges. She’s been working in the corporate world for over 15 years, with experience across multiple diverse departments including HR, sales, marketing, IT, commercial development, and training.