In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, working remotely has become a viable, if not widely available option. Companies once averse to the idea of employees working from home have embraced the concept and thrived.

Adopting a remote workplace also gives employers immediate access to a much wider range of employees. Members of your workforce may hail from different states, different time zones, and even different countries. Employers have more choice, but they also must run the day-to-day operations of their work differently than before.

Adjusting to a fully-remote workplace can be jarring, at least initially. Employees who are used to the face-to-face comradery of a traditional office space may find it challenging to work at home alone in isolation. On the other hand, many employees find a work-from-home setting more conducive to a work/life balance with no morning or after-work commute.

However, working from home has a wide range of advantages and disadvantages that may require extra attention, such as scheduling issues, payroll concerns, and onboarding challenges.

Here are 5 remote workplace tips that employers should keep in mind:

  1. Narrowing the field. Remote job opportunities are likely to produce a flood of applicants from all over the country or even world. Are you ready to sort through these applications? How will you know if the job applicants have the skills that they claim? Remote employers must create benchmarks that employees must meet to determine if they are qualified for the job.
  2. Scheduling can be a challenge. When a company hires remotely based on talent and skills, there is a good chance that not all the workers will reside in the same time zone. Scheduling company meetings around time differences can be tricky business. Employees who work on Pacific time may find themselves getting up at the crack of dawn to participate in meetings that start at 9 a.m. Eastern time.
  3. Fewer work conflicts. Work interruptions such as bad weather, childcare issues, school closures and transportation issues become largely irrelevant when you are working from home. At-home workers no longer have to miss a day of work to handle personal business. Sick kids, broken-down cars or traffic jams are no longer factors in reporting for work.
  4. Technology is mandatory. If your company is not technologically up to date, make the necessary changes before switching to a remote format. Video conferencing is an essential component of remote work. Being able to see your coworkers and talk to them face-to-face, even if it is on a computer screen, is an important part of remaining connected. 
  5. Onboarding can be tricky. Integrating a new employee as part of the company team and company culture requires tools and information that must be disseminated over distance. Companies also must figure out how to ship equipment to new employees and how to get it returned when the employees leave. Conveying the “dos” and “don’ts” in a video call can be impersonal and seem distant. Remote employers are faced with the challenge of finding ways to connect employees with each other even though they work apart.

Companies that embrace remote work expand the field of eligible job applicants but face new challenges of creating unity when their employees are located across the country. A smooth transition requires planning, technology, and a willingness to do old things in new ways.

Need advice on strategic communications or crisis PR? Red Banyan’s team of public relations professionals can help get you on the right track. Contact our team at Red Banyan to get your company on a forward-moving path.