Look, I know it. You know it. Remote work is here to stay. The big question is, are you prepared?
Last month, I had my 5-year work anniversary at Research Partners where my colleagues and I have been working remotely since the company was founded in 2005. Not only do our clients prefer having their consultant based locally in each market, but there are also many other benefits to remote work for both employer and employee.
But not everyone has experience with working from home. Yet the Coronavirus pandemic forced many employees into home offices overnight. The truth is, many companies weren’t prepared and are transitioning to remote in a “we’ll figure it out as we go” way. However, the most progressive ones (Facebook, GitLab, Twitter, Quora, etc.) either already employ or are currently hiring for a Head of Remote Work. Why? Because a remote workforce can be a huge competitive advantage, but you do need someone to make sure that every remote employee is set up for success. This brings us to the point: What does a Head of Remote Work even do?
Of course, these will vary given your company’s unique circumstances. In its most basic form, here are some of the job responsibilities for a Head of Remote Work.
- Providing guidance and coaching to leadership and managers
- Transforming remote-last processes (e.g. synchronous meetings) into remote-first workflows
- Managing and developing remote onboarding processes including providing hardware needs and software walkthroughs
- Developing and building a remote inclusive company culture and talent brand
- Planning benefits and
- Managing processes that ensure feedback from employees is heard and absorbed
- Anticipating and managing future needs
Pandemic related work-from-home arrangements are predicted to become permanent in the long run. If companies don’t want to fall behind the competition, they must adjust to a new way of working. If your business is hiring for remote positions, then yes, you should consider the benefits of hiring a Head of Remote. After all, you are looking to support a remote work environment rather than simply allowing it. Darren Murph, Head of Remote at all-remote open-source software firm GitLab, explains “You have to re-architect or at least rethink every element of how you work, from [technology] tools to ‘Do we have set working hours?’”. Basically, the role calls for an HR leader with specialized skills in technology, communication, and relationship building.