Remote Work Made Easy

ThinkstockPhotos-459929141Do you work remotely? If you’re someone who’s normal day involves commuting to an office, you were likely inclined to say no. But take a deep breath, and consider these questions first: Do you ever check work email, take calls, or check on projects from home, at night or on the weekends?  Have you ever left the office to get an important project done because your home office or a local coffee shop is more conducive to productivity? Has inclement weather (snow, flood, brush fire, etc.) ever forced you to work from home rather than trek to the office?  OK, so now answer the question, “Do you work remotely?”  The answer is likely, “Yes, actually I guess I do sometimes.”

There is a huge gap between the perception and the reality of what remote work is, or isn’t, and who does remote work, and who doesn’t. Going a step further, 23 percent of employed people in the US do some or all of their work at home, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, but for companies looking at it as a business strategy, there have been shockingly few practical resources.

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Whether you’re already operating at least partially remotely, or you’re building the case for remote work at your office-bound company, these tips from HR pros will further your cause.

Know why remote work will benefit your companyFrom saving time and money, to helping the environment, to improving recruitment and retention, there are very real benefits to partial or full remote work arrangements. Understand which reasons will motivate your company best.

Learn new techniques to hire remote workersWhile the overall hiring process is very similar for remote and in-office positions, or remote work, you should adjust your job applications, interview questions, and location parameters accordingly. For example, there may be certain states you can or can’t recruit from for tax reasons, or you may be able to hire people from around the world–each company approaches this differently.

Build a virtual company culture from the start. As soon as you implement a new remote work program, focus on translating your existing company culture to a virtual environment. For example, if you provide snacks and treats to office-based workers, provide them for virtual ones as well. And create as many lines of communication for your remote workers as possible. Open, active communication is the key to a successful remote work program.

The number of people who work remotely multiple days each week increased 80 percent between 2005 and 2012, and that growth is projected to continue and even accelerate. Remote work is a growing fact of life in the modern workplace, and the sooner your company both embraces and organizes it, the faster you, your workers, and the company’s bottom line will benefit.

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Sara Sutton Fell

Sara Sutton Fell
Sara Sutton Fell is the CEO and founder of FlexJobs, an career website for telecommuting, flexible, freelance and part-time job listings, the 1 Million for Work Flexibility initiative, and

Sara Sutton Fell

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