How HR manages the needs and establishes the ground rules for remote workers
As technology advances, more employees are working outside the office. With tools like video conferencing, remote access software, desktop sharing, and file management, it has never been easier to collaborate on projects and share ideas and resources remotely. Since 2005, the number of employees that work remotely has increased by 115% and roughly two-thirds of companies now employ remote staff.
For employees, working remotely can have several advantages. They spend less time in traffic and more time with family, and they have the ability to hold more flexible hours. Remote work can offer advantages for businesses as well, including the ability to choose from a larger talent pool, reduce operating costs, and have lower employee turnover. That said, remote work does add a number of complexities when it comes to the duties and responsibilities of the Human Resources department.
HR and a remote workforce
HR professionals have a number of concerns to address when it comes to effectively managing and meeting the needs of remote workers.
For HR Professionals, an important consideration when it comes to remote workers is compliance. Compliance standards can change depending on the state or country an employee is located. This can have an impact on minimum wage requirements, payroll deductions, workers compensation, and much more. Keeping records is vital, and employee records management software can help keep track of documents and files according to your unique compliance needs.
Health and Safety
Just because an employee is working off-site doesn’t mean the employer can ignore health and safety concerns. It is important to understand the environment in which all employees work, including remote employees. Discussing these concerns with remote staff can help to determine if their work environment meets the same standards of health and safety that are required in the office.
Keeping track of workers that are not under direct supervision can be a challenge. Communication is important to gain a better understanding of what an employee is working on and when. One strategy is to start each day with an email or video chat that discusses what the employee is working on, with whom, and what hours. Also, timesheet applications and project management software can be a huge help in determining when remote employees are active and what projects they are currently working on. It is also helpful to ensure that remote employees have the necessary tools and working environment required to do their job effectively.
Extra security concerns must be taken into account for remote workers. Some remote workers, as well as traveling workers, find it convenient to use public Wi-Fi. This poses significant security risks and should be avoided if possible. One alternative is to use a phone as a personal hotspot. If there is no other option, using a VPN service can help protect sensitive traffic. It is also ideal that remote employees have a dedicated work computer that follows the same protocols that are mandatory at work, such as frequent updates and regular virus scans.
It is important to ensure that remote employees have easy access to the resources they need, as well as tools that allow them to communicate and collaborate with coworkers. Video conferencing and desktop sharing software is helpful for remote collaboration. When it comes to accessing resources, remote access tools and document management software can make it easy for employees to access files remotely, while at the same time maintaining proper security.
HR policies for remote workers
It is crucial that HR policies for remote workers are established and understood by all employees. Here are a few example items to address in HR policies that can help remote employees understand what is expected when working off-site.
- Clearly outline which positions qualify for remote work, and which do not.
- Identify the tools required for remote work, and explain how employees can acquire these tools.
- Describe the type of environment that is suitable for working remotely.
- List all the security protocols that must be followed when working remotely.
- Outline expectations for availability and responsiveness.
HR embraces a remote workforce
Remote work is a trend that is gaining momentum. In fact, companies that are unwilling to offer this option could find themselves at a disadvantage. Recruiting the right talent is tricky, and restricting the pool to only workers who are local (or willing to relocate) can limit your options. While remote work adds complexity to the job of HR staff, with the right tools, communication practices, and policies, it can be a win-win for both employees and businesses alike.
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