Embrace Remote Work: The New Normal
Remote Work: Aligning Your Employer Brand with the New Normal
Employers can take steps to align remote work with their company culture and beyond. No matter how your organization defines remote work, your employees are more than likely yearning for more flexibility in their world of work.
By embracing remote work and finding ways to engage employees, employers can achieve the ultimate goal in employee retention and business success: wellbeing among their workers.
What Does Remote Work Mean?
In the scramble to keep businesses open during the pandemic, remote work became the go-to solution for employers who could send their employees home to work while still keeping workflows relatively productive. Now, remote work is here to stay, and businesses are figuring out best practices for the combination of in-person, hybrid, and exclusively work from home jobs.
What it is not
For legal and tax considerations, remote work doesn’t always mean employees can work from anywhere. While some companies may need staff to be available for in-person meetings, others may need workers to be available for travel within a region. There are also positions that require state-issued licenses or certifications.
Despite the seemingly worldwide acceptance of the new normal of remote work, not everyone is working on a laptop while traveling cross country in an RV. Most remote work simply means that employees have the option to work from home – sometimes only one day per week.
There is a percentage of the workforce who can work full time from home. But most remote workers work from home on a part-time basis and still need to live close enough to the office to work in-person on occasion.
Aligning Culture and HR Goals
While remote work can still be local, the lack of in-person interactions can pose a challenge for managers and HR alike. Aligning remote work and company culture, as well as aligning remote work and HR goals are two top priorities for organizations that kept pandemic remote work protocols in place.
According to McKinsey’s American Opportunity Survey, most American workers who can work from home not only enjoy it but want to increase the number of days they can work remotely. 87% of workers who are given the opportunity to work a flexible schedule take it.
Aligning remote working and your company culture
According to the Society for Human Resource Management, CEOs and CHROs are most concerned about maintaining a consistent company culture across traditional and remote workplaces. Not only did the pandemic result in talent loss and the subsequent injury to the success of businesses - but the pandemic also resulted in strained workplace culture.
Organizations can design their employer brand promise around remote work – but more importantly, they can revolve both the promise and the remote work flexibility around wellbeing. Offering remote work flexibility is of no use to a business when its workers are not engaged and not happy.
Finding paths to engagement via remote work is a start for leadership. Managers can bridge the gap between life in the office and remote work through a series of actions that will simultaneously honor working remote, as well as consciously curate employee wellbeing.
Aligning remote work and HR goals
HR is already a multifaceted department at any organization. Adding an extra layer to the hiring, onboarding, payroll, and other facets of the department is vital to the success of the business. That layer is remote work – more specifically, remote work in service of the wellbeing and happiness of current and future employees.
HR goals: wellbeing
Supporting the wellbeing of employees may be HR’s number one priority in light of the Great Resignation. Retaining employees is a group effort, led by HR and revolving around the wellbeing of the employees.
According to Positive Psychology, fostering work engagement is a conduit for wellbeing. In turn, work stressors and resources lead to positive changes in wellbeing, which impact various types of performance:
Recovering during leisure time leads to an increase in self-rated core task performance
Wellbeing drives extra-role performance, including organizational citizenship behavior, personal initiative, and proactive behavior
Low levels of burnout (coupled with decreased employee absence)
HR goals: recruitment
Remote work can be a blessing for HR – or potentially a curse – in their role as recruiter. If an organization can cast a much wider net when filling a position, HR departments may have an easier time recruiting top talent from a larger geographical region than they did prior to the remote work phenomenon.
But at the same time, HR departments rely on online tools exclusively to vet, interview, and onboard candidates. Despite technological advances, there is still a challenge in recreating an in-person experience with online technology.
Leveraging the expertise of a recruiting agency is an alternative to managing remote work in-house. Or hiring a remote work expert can help your business create and maintain best practices for aligning remote work and HR goals. Their expertise can put your organization on the list of the best remote companies to work for while helping candidates find your remote jobs online.
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Managing Remote Teams
With the ongoing Great Resignation, managers are juggling more than just managing a remote team. According to Gallup’s recent State of the Global Workplace: 2022 report, workers are disengaged and unhappy. While 60% of pollees report being emotionally detached, 19% go so far as to say they are miserable.
The good news is that managers can leverage the flexibility that remote work offers to simultaneously keep their remote employees engaged and happy. In response to WFH Research’s poll, workers equate work flexibility to as much as a 10% pay raise.
By equipping themselves with data insights, managers can take next steps to proactively engage their remote teams and to find ways to keep them happy – or make them happy. Because engagement and wellbeing are intricately linked, work can influence the other aspects of employees’ lives and vice versa.
Starting with tracking wellbeing measurements, managers can create and monitor dashboards defining success as employee engagement. Prioritizing employee wellbeing can be the thread of the employer brand promise, woven throughout the organization from top to bottom.
Managing Remote Employees
Remote work requires a whole new set of soft skills that were heretofore unnecessary for employees. If your employees struggle with independent work or lose focus on their own or lack the communication skills required to overcome the lack of in-person interactions, part of your job as a manager is to help employees improve these skills.
The irony is that employees who may have thrived in a busy and sometimes noisy office may find self-management difficult when working from home – just as employees who found it challenging to focus when surrounded by colleagues with chronic potential for interruptions are now thriving in the quiet of their home offices while working remotely.
Whether your employees are struggling or thriving in work from home environments, there are simple steps you can take to enhance engagement while keeping open lines of communication:
Schedule one-on-one meetings
Employees nationwide are increasingly seeking flexibility in their work and workplace. Embrace remote work to secure the best talent,
Optimum Staffing Solutions is a full-service staffing and HR agency serving both companies and job seekers alike. Optimum takes the stress out of the job and employee search–with over 50 years of combined hiring experience, we understand the business elements and bigger picture of staffing. We develop a deep comprehension of both client and candidate needs in order to find the right fit for you, lower time to fill, and continue to act as advisor and guide throughout the hiring process.
Whether seeking jobs or employees on a contract basis, temp, short- or long- term, remote or in-person, freelance projects or even outsourcing your HR department entirely, Optimum has the insight and expertise to destress staffing and help you succeed. For accounting, finance, IT, legal, marketing, HR, and engineering, Optimum is Staffing…Reimagined.
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