Remote work has undeniably transformed the landscape of the modern workplace. As we navigate this new normal, recruiters and HR professionals face unique challenges in aligning teams, setting goals, and ensuring effective communication. In a recent HR Power Session with Anastasia Tomei, the Recruiting Director at Safeguard Global and author of "Work Remotely," we delved into these challenges and explored potential solutions.
The Shift to Remote Work: A Double-Edged Sword
While remote work offers flexibility and access to a broader talent pool, it also brings forth challenges in communication, trust, and team alignment. Larger companies are now grappling with the decision to return to the office, adopt a hybrid model, or continue fully remote operations. This decision impacts not only operational efficiency but also the company's attractiveness to potential candidates.
So how can you succeed if you decide to stay remote?
Aligning Teams and Goals in a Remote Setting
Aligning teams and goals is a universal challenge, irrespective of the work model. However, in a remote setting, the absence of physical presence can make this even more complex. Anastasia emphasised the importance of:
- Setting clear KPIs or OKRs.
- Ensuring written communication is prioritised, making information accessible to all team members.
- Appointing a dedicated manager or role to oversee remote team alignment and communication.
Doesn't written communication feel impersonal and cold?
While written communication can initially feel less warm than face-to-face interactions, its asynchronous nature can boost productivity. Anastasia recommended using emoticons, GIFs, and a conversational tone to add warmth. The focus should be on clarity and ensuring all necessary information is conveyed effectively.
Trusting Remote Employees: A Common Concern
One of the concerns raised during the session was the balance between trusting remote employees and ensuring accountability. Anastasia's advice was clear: focus on deliverables.
How do you balance trust with ensuring remote employees are genuinely working?
Anastasia emphasised focusing on deliverables. If tasks are completed efficiently, the exact hours an employee is online becomes secondary. It's essential to maintain open communication and have regular check-ins to ensure clarity of expectations and address any concerns.
Encouraging In-Person Interactions in a Hybrid Model
For some companies, being fully remote may not be the most practical solution for the business, therefore they adopt a hybrid model. However, encouraging employees to come to the office can be challenging. Anastasia suggested organising regular in-office events or meetings to foster team bonding. However, it's essential to ensure that these interactions add value and aren't just a formality.
How can we encourage employees to come to the office more often in a hybrid model?
Anastasia suggested creating attractive in-office events, such as Friday lunches or all-hands meetings. The key is to make these interactions meaningful, ensuring employees feel their time in the office is well-spent and adds value to their work experience.
The Impact of Remote on Diverse Pipelines
As we look ahead, it's evident that remote work, in some form, is here to stay. Recruiters and HR professionals must adapt and evolve to ensure they attract, retain, and manage talent effectively in this new paradigm.
Do we have data on the impact of remote work on building diverse pipelines, especially concerning gender and non-traditional education?
Anastasia highlighted that remote work has shown potential in promoting diversity. For instance, women, especially mothers, find it easier to enter the workforce remotely. Similarly, individuals with physical disabilities benefit from remote roles. While specific global data is still emerging, the initial indications are positive.
In conclusion, while remote work presents its set of challenges, with the right strategies and an open mindset, companies can harness its benefits to create a productive, inclusive, and harmonious work environment.
Anastasia Tohmé is the Author of the Penguin published book, Work Remotely. If you're interested in getting more expert tips, join the Circular Community to stay up to date with up coming events!