Remote HR Management

As offices shut doors and employees began workfromhome, two major HRM challenges emerged – supervision and confidentiality.

Why has F2F suddenly become the new HRM buzzword?Because it is no longer a given.

Even as economies around the world slowed down during COVID lockdown, CHROs expressed concern about large number of employees working from home.

BYN looks into some of these concerns and how they can be mitigated.

Emotional Disconnect

In the contemporary business world, a good deal of communication takes place virtually. Technology inherently lacks empathy leading to a lack of camaraderie and creating a disconnect between employees – who are distracted to begin with when working from home.

Employees working from home do not “feel” a part of the organization.

To remedy the situation, try to have an F2F every so often. Either party can initiate it or you can schedule it at regular intervals – say once a week. Video calls are preferable – though F2F is possible on phone or VOIP too – for the simple reason that visibility aids bonding. Indeed, there are many channels for F2F thanks to technology. You can use any or all of them.

Invite remote employees to drop in for a day’s work or just to meet up. Invite them to drop their invoice in person. In short, stay as connected with your remote employees as possible.

Cultural Divide

The internet has made the world a smaller place. Enterprises now hire employees from remote geographical locations – sometimes from outside the native country.

Employees from diverse cultural backgrounds may find it difficult to bond because of language and cultural diversity.

When you hire remote workers, from a different culture, make efforts to understand their beliefs and preferences. Share your own beliefs and perspectives. Be tolerant of what you may consider “strange behavior” and request them to do the same.

Crossculturaltraining is an integral of HRM.

Be creative in your approach. Even as you explore the new culture yourself, share your discoveries with your fellow workers in your native country. Help them understand the differences and adapt. Communication is a two way process and both parties must meet halfway for successful bonding and working together. As head of HR, you are standing on the median. Keep your balance.

Related Blog – Flexible HR – What it is

Communication – or Lack of it

Try sitting down alone with only your computer for company – it can be depressing and boring.

Remote employees often feel left out of the loop simply because they are not involved in the daily chatter around the coffee pot. Weekly virtual meetings give employees something to look forward to and work towards. Exchanging greetings, comparing notes, sharing concerns, or simply indulging in chit-chat, are all part of the work culture and work-place environment. Give your employees time and space to do this before you call the meeting to order.

Employees who interact with their co-workers regularly exhibit higher productivity than those working in isolation.

Communication

The remote employee use a number of communication channels – email, Skype, Chat, or Office Portal – to name a few. Using multiple channels leaves ample room for error and miscommunication.  Version management, clarity of instructions, and deadlines are only some of the things that can go completely out of whack.

 Use a good workflow management system to help monitor projects and ensure timely completion.

Clarity in communication assumes greater significance when dealing with employees working from home. Identify clearly how the work will be delegated and submitted. Also, identify how clarifications may be sought and given. Use fewer communication channels  and maintain detailed records as far as possible so that you can track back when necessary. These records will also serve as proof of work in case of dispute.

Productivity

It’s easy to nod off on the couch with your laptop

, which can seriously impact percapita productivity of HR.

Employees working from home are likely to be distracted and disoriented – particularly if they are not accustomed to remote working. This can reduce the per capita productivity of your HR – resulting in significant loss.

You can ensure productivity by setting up a daily/ planner on your work flow management system for every employee. Ask your remote employees to out at the end of each day, making it easier to monitor productivity and other KPIs. Maintaining a time log is another way of monitoring the work done by an employee. If the work your employee does is measurable, you could set  up a quota system rewarding the toppers.

Most workflow management systems include tracking and monitoring functionalities

Security

Apart from health, a major concern that has emerged from the pandemic lockdown situation is that of cybersecurity.

Cybersecurity risks when working from home come not only from insecure internet connections but also from indiscriminate sharing of work details, careless placement of devices, and lack of protocol.

This concern is easily resolved with the multitude of software that are commercially available. These apps and programs allow you to do everything from managing employee passwords, encrypting data, installing anti-virus, to remotely managing a computer or device. Or you can simply invest in a secure and comprehensive cloud based service.

Look out for our security tips for remote employees. Subscribe or join us to stay tuned.

Employee training is as important as using the right software. Train your employees to lock their devices before moving away. Insist on prompt reports about lost or misplaced devices. Lay down the rules clearly and enforce them. Have a disaster management plan in place.

Intra-Office Concerns

There is a natural and healthy competition among the employees within a business. Your remote force will find themselves somewhat at a disadvantage as far as such competition is concerned, if only because the in-house employee may feel superior and entitled, simply because he travels to work every day.

It is important to reduce the friction between your remote team and in-house team.

This is easily achieved by regular training and transparency. Lay down the protocol – both for remote and in-house teams. Assure them that their concerns will be taken into consideration. Involve the in-house team in the F2F sessions with remote workers and encourage remote employees to interact with in-house tams.

Transparency and interaction between the remote and in-house teams will clear the air and encourage both to work in harmony.

Summing Up

Work from home is relatively new in India – but it suddenly came into focus because of the pandemic lockdown situation leaving both employees and employers scrambling. The model is likely here to stay. Success depends not only upon the CHRO (Chief Hr Officer) but also on the employees themselves.

While the pandemic situation remains unresolved, things are now settling down and you can perhaps find the time to reconsider your requirements, the type of remote employee, and other factors unique to your business. With some care and a few tweaks, you can easily manage both your in-house, as well as remote HR.

BYN believes in facts. Subscribe to our newsletter and join us on Facebook. If you wish to associate with us or need more information drop an email to contact@blogyourniches.com

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