Despite a handful of well-publicized reversals in philosophy—most notably Yahoo and IBM—American business continues to embrace the concept of remote work.
Recent research by FlexJobs showed that 43 percent of people work remotely at least some of the time. But, these employees are generally attached to an office and are exercising periodic work-from-home opportunities that give them flexibility.
The different types of remote workers
In comparison to the occasional work from home employee, a far smaller number never step foot in a brick-and-mortar office, either because they work for an organization that is entirely virtual, or because their employer has one or more physical offices but has chosen to pursue or allow remote workers.
In addition, there are some employers that allow select employees to work from home. This is often because those individuals are experienced and highly valued, and they may have moved or are otherwise unable to continue on-site. Faced with the potential prospect of losing a valuable employee, these organizations take more of an accommodation approach to remote work. They can and will accommodate it when necessary, but it’s not an active part of their recruitment or retention efforts.
Culture is key
Other organizations—like Businessolver—view remote work as vital to their staffing model. (In fact, just under 20 percent of our team is remote, which we consider our second-largest office.)
When your remote policy is confined to key employees who have likely already worked for you on-site and have existing experience with your organization and relationships with colleagues, how you manage remote workers is often mostly about ensuring good quality communication channels.
However, when you are actively cultivating remote workers who have the skills and knowledge you need but potentially no experience or foundation with your organization, having a specific remote workforce cultivation strategy and approach is key.
As we have recruited, cultivated and grown a highly successful remote team, we’ve found these three tactics to be key to success.
As the war for talent rages on, now may be the time to re-evaluate whether remote work could provide an additional pipeline of talent you haven’t previously considered. From an employer’s perspective, being able to recruit outside a geographic area means a larger pool of potential candidates, often with more depth of experience than may be available to them within commuting distance of a physical location. Turning candidates into successful remote employees requires a bit of a paradigm shift, but the upside can be significant.
Flexible work schedules are one of the key ways employers can show empathy. Get more insights in our 2018 State of Workplace Empathy Study e-book below.