The modern office isn’t what it used to be. Today, an organization might have some, or even all, employees telecommuting — either working from home, working remotely from separate offices, or working while on the road.
Telecommuting can offer many benefits for both employers and employees — access to a wider talent pool, staff in multiple time zones, flexibility for employees, etc. — but it tends to make certain things more challenging for some departments — such as your HR strategy.
If your business has remote workers, consider the following:
- Communicate with Technology
Effective communication is the cornerstone to an aligned, productive workforce. Luckily, there are communication tools that make this easier than it’s ever been. Real-time messaging with tools such as Skype and Slack has replaced telephone conversations in many companies. Other online solutions also enable communication of news and alerts to the company: Microsoft’s Yammer can even be tied into an Intranet portal if you are using Office 365.
- Use Collaboration Tools
Besides Yammer and Slack, there are other tools that can facilitate remote team collaboration. Many cloud-based solutions are available for various applications, depending on the need. For instance, a remote accounting team might consider using software like Microsoft Dynamics 365.
Many ERP and CRM systems are becoming cloud-based, making them easy for staff to access from anywhere at any time. Automated accounts receivable processing, accounts payable processing, and budget approval can all boost efficiency and productivity.
Video chatting, web-based meetings with screen-sharing capabilities, and conference calls can all be valuable tools, too.
- Develop Telecommuting Policies Surrounding Sensitive Information
When working remotely, there has always been the confidentiality of printed material to consider. How should remote employees file documents? If a staff member is on the road (for example, a travelling sales employee) what papers can they leave out in the open? And where do they put them when they are not in active use?
But for the modern telecommuter there’s another privacy concern: data security. In an office environment, the business may have a private Internet signal, extra network defenses, and alerts if someone tries to breach the system. But at home or on-the-go employees may not have the same technology.
The HR team may need to work with the IT department to develop a data security strategy and supporting policies for remote employees.
- Don’t Leave Out Training and Development
Even if an employee never comes into the physical office, training and development shouldn’t be ignored.
Webinars, e-learning, cloud-based Intranet portals, and more all make facilitating long-distance training much easier than it used to be. There also may need to be training on how to be a successful virtual employee, such as how to manage their career long distance or how to progress through the company remotely.
A customized learning management system can also tailor training to the specific department or employee, and even gamify the process.
- Consider Cloud-Based HR Software
Beyond collaboration tools, there are also HR-specific processes that can be taken to the cloud. For instance, there are cloud-based solutions available for performance management tracking that staff could access from anywhere.
You also may want to consider:
- Automated employee expense management.
- Automated payroll software.
- Facilitate employee check-ins – monitor employee moods, feedback, and potential issues.
- Time and attendance tracking (including overtime).
- Talent management solutions for recruitment, scheduling interviews, employee onboarding, and more.
As workplaces adapt to telecommuting, so should your HR strategy. TGO Consulting can help you choose the cloud-based HR technology for your organization. Contact us today to assess your business needs, review options, and formulate an integration plan.
Call (905) 470 6830 or visit www.tgo.ca.
Discover more about how HR can adapt to the digital age. Download our free eBook, Managing Human Capital in the Social Media World.