The landscape of the traditional workforce has shifted. The business world is emerging from make-do roles and workflows adapted to overcome the unique challenges of the global pandemic. While many companies returned to status quo in-office environments, numerous employees globally have assumed long-term hybrid and remote roles.
If you’re among the numerous businesses choosing to move into a hybrid/remote hiring model, there will be several hurdles your HR team will have to overcome. First, you need to determine which model works best for your business structure and goals. Then, to meet the needs of your new workforce, you should look ahead at the obstacles that could stand in the way of maintaining high levels of productivity and engagement.
It probably feels like you need a crystal ball to build out a reliable strategy. And while we don’t have any magic tricks up our sleeves, we can cut out some of the hard work for you.
Here’s a look at some of the new working models your team could move into and the most likely hurdles you could face. We’ve even thrown in a few example solutions to get your problem-solving gears turning!
1. Company-wide flexible work hours
Offering flexible work hours across the whole company is a great way to attract talent from all generations. Research has shown that one thing employees agree on is the benefit of flexible work options. In fact, in a Flexjob study, 78% of millennials reported they would be more loyal to an employer if they were offered flexible work. Older workers (71%) agreed.
This is significant considering HR pros are always looking for ways to attract and retain a multigenerational workforce. Especially since discovering what workers want doesn’t differ much from one generation to the next. Deloitte’s 2020 Global Human Capital Trends report revealed regardless of age, respondents largely agreed on areas such as work-life flexibility and expectations of loyalty, job security, and advancement.
Another important element employees agree on — teamwork. PwC reported the No. 1 reason for an office is for collaboration, according to survey respondents.
The hurdle of offering wide-spread flexible work hours:
Shifting to company-wide flexible work hours could impact collaboration. Teams that need to work on projects together may not elect to work at the same time.
The solution to streamlining flexible scheduling:
A simple way to resolve scheduling conflicts is to invest in task management software that improves collaboration and helps teams track where they are in each step of a project. These tools are not only effective for your remote hiring team, but also for managing tasks between teams company-wide in and out of the office.
A few task management tools that could help keep your flexible team on track include:
Within this app, your team leaders can easily assign tasks and prioritize what’s most important for everyone to complete. Monday makes it easy to set a project timeline and track milestones and dependencies all in one place. And the app aids in collaboration across teams and departments, so there is no project too big or too small.
This task management app keeps all teamwork necessities (tasks, docs, chat, goals, and more) neatly organized in one place and accessible for everyone. You can import documents from other productivity apps in minutes to quickly bring your team together. You also gain a birds’ eye view of how projects are progressing. That way, you can assess if someone on the team might be struggling with the new workflow.
If you’re looking for a task management tool that can do just about anything, this is a great app to land on for most of your HR needs. Team leads can coordinate tasks, so everyone knows who’s expected to complete what part of each project. Remote and hybrid teams can share feedback and files while getting a complete view of the project and status updates. This way, everyone can tackle the right tasks at the right time.
2. Rotating remote work scheduling
Taking turns working from home is a model many companies found helpful when pandemic mandates limited the number of employees who could be in a workspace at one time. This system could work for many teams moving forward that have found their groove.
Some may still have team members with mixed emotions because they feel the schedule conflicts with their home-life needs. For example, arranging childcare or accommodating space and time to work from home might impede an employees’ ability to perform their best and achieve work-life balance.
The hurdle of working on a rotating schedule:
You can’t necessarily satisfy everyone’s needs with this model, and some tasks may require certain employees to work in the office at different times. Ideally, you want a schedule that is fixed enough so employees can make accommodations well in advance to balance their personal and professional needs. But you also want to maintain a level of flexibility for team members to adjust their schedules and coordinate in-person project collaboration.
The solution to streamlining rotating remote work:
The best way to make a revolving schedule work is to invest in scheduling software that allows employees to see each other’s calendars and sync up important meetings. This makes it possible for everyone to be notified if something changes that could affect a peer’s work plans. There are numerous scheduling apps and software to consider.
With our interview scheduling software here at Spark Hire, for example, candidates get the first glance at how convenient it is to put themselves into hiring pros’ schedules during a time that works for everyone.
This remote hiring feature works just as effectively for your whole HR team and beyond. Employees can add their calendar link to their email signatures, easily accessible in daily communications. When someone needs help on a project or needs to schedule a meeting, it’s as simple as clicking into the relevant calendar/s and looking for an open slot.
Smart integrations like a calendar assistant cut down the mental juggling that eats up your team’s workday. Reclaim, for example, claims to save you up to 40% of your workweek. It takes out the guesswork when it comes to scheduling meetings and budgeting time for mundane tasks around bigger projects.
A unique feature Reclaim offers is called ‘Habits.’ It’s a more flexible way to ensure you get time to tackle regular tasks by blocking time on your calendar. This feature makes it possible for team members to get into the groove of working at home or in the office, as well as syncing schedules easily when open blocks of time align.
3. Elective remote/hybrid work options
Giving employees the option to work from home helps improve their work-life balance and boosts productivity.
The PwC report mentioned above revealed the majority of employees and employers agree productivity improves when remote work is possible. But more importantly, by encouraging team members to work in the environment and hours they are most productive, employees can take back control of their mental well-being.
The hurdle of letting employees choose their workplace:
While your team performance is likely to improve, individual employees may struggle with figuring out where or how they work best. Worse yet, some may not have the means to work from home or get to the office, creating a new stressor for employees to manage.
The solution to streamlining an elective remote/hybrid workforce:
One way to conquer this hurdle is to look at ways to adjust your HR budget to help employees establish their most productive workspaces. This could include a stipend for home internet access or commuter expenses, for example.
Rather than updating the in-office equipment, you may provide secure personal work devices employees can use in or out of the office. And naturally, you want to invest in all-inclusive task/project/communication/team management apps and resources that work seamlessly from the home office to in-person workdays.
The only way to make room in your HR budget is to clear out the inefficiencies. Fortunately, you have plenty of metrics to dig into if you’re correctly tracking your HR and hiring tools’ return on investment (ROI). And the plus side of the rapid shift to remote hiring over the last year? You now have data to compare your previous years’ in-office expenses to remote work spending.
With a bit of time and careful analysis, you should be able to identify places you can reallocate funds to set your new remote/hybrid teams up for success.
4. Hybrid workforce (role-specific)
For some companies, the most effective way to move to a hybrid system is to offer remote work to specific departments/roles that do not need to be in the office. This can cut down on office expenses and attract top talent living in other parts of the country.
The hurdle of letting employees choose their workplace:
Unfortunately, communication, reviews, and feedback — both peer-to-peer and between team leaders — can be challenging to manage across the team when employees work from different spaces.
Hybrid employees may feel marginalized or isolated from the rest of the team, impacting morale and productivity. In-office team members may feel like they are under the scope, pull more of the load, or that evaluations are biased. No matter what, there is likely to be a disconnect in the workplace culture.
The solution to streamlining an elective remote/hybrid workforce:
Overcoming obstacles that stand against building a healthy work culture is possibly more essential than any other challenge you may face during the transition to a hybrid work model. That’s why it’s crucial you invest in intuitive communication tools and dial-up recognition strategies.
Encourage in-office team members to connect with their hybrid team members, and vice versa! Connecting is a team effort as much as any other task they work on together — but it can be even more fun. Look for new ways to create a positive and engaging culture.
A few communication and recognition tools you might consider adding to your HR toolbox include:
This app provides an incentive for employees to interact with each other, but mostly, it’s just fun. Team members can interact through chat integrations within the platform and award each other points that can be cashed out for rewards. The best part: You can keep a pulse on your company culture through data insights from employee feedback, engagement, and recognition.
This screen recorder is simple enough for personal use but powerful enough for businesses. Team members can use screenrec to record their screen while using their webcam audio/mic. This makes it possible for team members to demonstrate new skills, assist with important tasks, troubleshoot, and provide valuable feedback — no matter where they work. All you have to do is click, record, and paste the sharable link for everyone to see.
Video messaging is another fantastic way to communicate important information quickly, clearly, and personally. It only takes moments to record a custom video message that feels more personal than a typed email message. And if you use software that allows you to customize and brand your messages, candidates and employees feel even more connected to the organization and team.
5. Fully remote workforce
Coming away from the temporary shift to remote hiring during the 2020 global pandemic, you may have realized your team performance was higher than ever.
Not to mention the savings of shutting down the office was better allocated to employee pay raises, improved benefits, updating tech to streamline workflow, and maybe even giving your recruiting/HR strategy a boost. Going fully remote may be the way forward for your company.
This is hands down the most significant transition. You have many decisions to make, but mastering the basics of managing your remote hiring process and workforce virtually is the best place to get a foothold.
The hurdle of sticking with a fully remote workforce:
Some HR tasks traditionally performed in person such as interviewing, making job offers, employee performance reviews, etc. will need to be virtual. Remote hiring can be a difficult shift for some teams to commit to long-term.
The solution to streamlining the shift to virtual HR/hiring:
Invest in a dedicated video interview platform. It simplifies the hiring process for candidates who will work remotely anyway (so why come in for numerous in-person interviews?).
Even better, it broadens your talent pool, streamlines the evaluation process, and makes it possible for more decision-makers to fairly and confidently weigh in on talent that is the best fit for your remote workforce.
As mentioned above, scheduling tools and video messaging features can benefit the whole company in many other ways. Ultimately, what you put into your hybrid and remote hiring process is what you’ll get out of your workforce. Empowering your HR and hiring team to screen and hire talent that’s highly qualified for your business and workforce models sets your entire team up for success.