Let’s look at how remote work has changed recruiting. If you are anticipating business growth post-pandemic, you may be planning to ramp up your recruiting efforts just about now. As you do, it’s important to think about how COVID-19 has changed the workforce, especially when it comes to employee expectations regarding remote work.
According to a recent survey by LiveCareer, an online resume-writing company, the majority of employees think working remotely is a positive experience. That’s in spite of many people saying they are distracted, juggling their job with teaching their kids at home, caring for their pets and competing for quiet spaces with their partners, spouses or roommates.
A resounding 8 out of 10 respondents said they enjoy working remotely, and 6 out of 10 stated that remote work has positively affected their work-life balance.
Other research has indicated that productivity increases when workers are at home. That’s because eliminating daily commuting frees up hours of time. Remote work also encourages individuals to focus on important tasks, and reduces idle time, say spent socializing with colleagues.
On the flip side, remote work has created numerous challenges around issues such as collaboration, culture, communication and unity.
Remote work: the new must – have benefit?
There’s no doubt that it’s a pivotal time for employers. The pandemic is forcing businesses of all sizes to evaluate the necessity of bringing personnel back to the workplace and to explore the implications of hybrid or fully remote scenarios.
With more people wanting and expecting to work remotely, how can businesses decide what’s best? It’s a balancing act of culture, cost and competition for top talent.
First there’s the question of how to maintain your company culture with a remote workforce. Is it vitally important to have an in-office team? Are their certain positions that may be suited for remote work while other work functions require on site staff? For a business like NEMR Total HR, that is built on human connections and meeting with clients in person, a fully remote scenario wouldn’t fit into our business model.
Another consideration is the true cost effectiveness of remote work. When you add up the price of hardware, software, security, supplies, and potential reimbursement for other expenses in combination with the possible negative impact on your corporate culture, the answer isn’t so clear.
When it comes to talent acquisition, many prospective recruits are looking for flexible arrangements. But working remotely isn’t for everyone. For many, the camaraderie of professional colleagues is an essential part of life. Introverts may crave the solitude of a home office, but extroverts crave interaction with others. Another issue: some individuals lack the discipline it takes to focus in a home environment. For them, heading to a worksite is essential to their success.
There are no clear answers, except when it comes to the recruiting conversation.
Remote work has changed recruiting conversations
If you have positions where the essential functions can be done with a computer and a phone and in-person interaction isn’t a requirement, you may opt to offer a hybrid or fully remote scenario. In this case, the first and most important step is to have a job description that spells out the expectations of the position. It should include demands of the job including the work environment, the typical hours, any physical demands, and the essential functions.
What types of questions can you ask recruits about remote work? What can’t you ask? It can get tricky.
Of course, all the same rules apply as before. That is, you can’t ask most questions around age, religion, race, color or national origin; sex, gender or sexual orientation; disability; pregnancy status, citizenship; marital status or number of children unless they are very specifically related to a position’s essential functions and job description requirements.
One area of interviewing that might cross the line is about the candidate’s ability to be productive at home. It might be tempting to ask about distractions. Be aware that it is illegal to ask, “Do you have children at home that will interfere with your ability to do this job?” The way to handle this is to ask, “how do you keep yourself motivated and engaged when working from home?”
Another area of concern relates to the work environment. While you can’t require the person to have a designated work spot that is separate from the rest of the household, you can ask the candidate what tools they need in their physical workspace to be successful at their job. For example, “Do you have a phone, do you have a computer, do you have adequate internet speed?” are all fair inquiries if those tools are needed to perform the essential functions of the position. As an employer, you will need to know what type of equipment to supply the prospective employee.
Lastly, asking a prospective employee what their biggest concerns are about working remotely will offer added insight. A candidate’s ability to be open and self-aware is very important. Their answers will provide you information not only about their challenges but their strengths!
Analyzing your workforce’s ability to be remote is something to consider now. Think about each worker’s essential function, your corporate culture, costs and keeping your businesses competitive in today’s job market. Staying ahead and making informed decisions is vital to your team’s overall happiness and success, and to your business’ growth!