Even before the pandemic, remote work has been increasingly more common in a variety of industries, but nowhere more so than in the information technology space. Now the Coronavirus has forced businesses all over the world to embrace the need for teams working outside of the office. Fortunately, thanks to the advent of the cloud and the myriad tools that are enabled by it, workers can be just as productive remotely as they are sitting in an office.
But even with the recent surge in teams proving this new model can be successful, is remote working truly here to stay? Are companies hiring team members to work remotely beyond the pandemic or are they hoping to eventually move back to the office? VALiNTRYtechnology’s Rick Phillips gives us his thoughts on the trends he’s seeing from organizations seeking help recruiting technology positions as well his thoughts on how an organization should prepare for and approach hiring permanently remote positions.
Demand for Remote Workers is Geographical
Due to the recent surge of COVID-19 cases throughout the country, many cities, like Rick’s hometown of Chicago, have seen significant increases in remote workers due to local mandates. Other urban centers, like New York City, are seeing mass exoduses as residents decide that working from home allows them to relocate to areas with fewer COVID cases and lower costs of living. In both cases, organizations are finding they must be more open to hiring remote workers to ensure they are securing and retaining the best talent. Meanwhile, in other parts of the country where COVID cases are less prevalent, many employers are pushing for their teams to return to more traditional work models as soon as possible.
Local Remote Tech Jobs
Many companies are okay with hiring full-time, remote positions, but they also prefer them to be local. In other words, these companies want team members working from home, but the employee needs to be within a reasonable driving distance of the office. This close proximity allows for teams to occasionally meet face-to-face and also participate in team-building events that can build stronger bonds which make remote work even more productive. While there isn’t a huge demand yet for these types of remote positions nationwide, Rick suggests this trend will become more popular in the post-pandemic world.
Types of Remote Positions
While not every position is suitable for remote work (e.g. manual labor, construction, etc.), a vast majority of IT roles can be performed outside of an office setting as teams like Facebook, WordPress, and Google can attest. Roles like software developers, QA testers, and IT project managers are just some of the jobs that fit the remote profile well. Developers and QA specialists have the ability to work independently from anywhere and project managers are able to communicate with their teams thanks to cloud platforms such as Microsoft Office365 and Google Workspace. These products make it easy to collaborate on projects as well as keep in touch through video conferencing with multiple team members.
Remote Work is Here to Stay
As Rick alluded to earlier, if companies want to be truly competitive in hiring top talent moving forward, they are going to need to have a remote model in some capacity. If not, there is a good chance they will be lagging in their industry. Companies that offer this option are seeing increased productivity and employee satisfaction and even reduced costs in some instances. These benefits can be attributed to lower real estate and payroll expenses for firms, as well as lower costs of living, minimized commutes, and flexible schedules for employees.
How Can You Start a Remote Work Program in Your Company
One of the big pieces of advice Rick shares for companies looking to implement remote working is consistent communication both during the hiring process and throughout the employment period. Companies must consider questions like:
- What are the expectations for your remote teams?
- What is the company culture like and how are you adapting that culture to your virtual teams?
- Are there specific, shared windows of time that everyone needs to be “on the clock?”
- What are your expectations for the logistics and etiquette during virtual meetings? (e.g., Do you expect team members to have their cameras on all the time?)
While these items may seem insignificant now, they are vital to a successful remote work program and need to be discussed upfront and revisited regularly.
Lastly, in the hiring process, any candidate (remote or not) should be asked, “How do you handle working remotely?” Get a sense for things like their morning routine. How might it change if the team member ends up working from home? Even if a new hire will be primarily office-based, it is important to gauge how they will perform should you need to pivot to a remote workforce as so many have done during the pandemic.
We hope these insights are helpful as you consider or start a remote work program. VALiNTRYtechnology stands ready to help as you begin hiring IT professionals for your workforce. Contact us today!