The idea of remote work has taken hold across many industries over the past few years. In the early days of telecommuting, it served as a handy stopgap and a way for individuals to perform daily tasks while away from the desk for a short period of time, due to travel or illness. Now, it's increasingly common for companies to hire employees who will rarely or never work from headquarters and treat remote work as their default. This has allowed organizations to cast a wider geographic net with their hiring, uniting skilled candidates from around the globe.
Improving collaboration technology has allowed this trend to take hold in multiple fields, including those that demand everyday teamwork. With telecommuting increasing in incidence, human resource departments have a new mission: Hiring managers must seek out professionals who will excel in the still-developing remote work ecosystem, potentially performing roles that, until recently, were associated with in-person work and interactions.
Industries Making the Jump
Business Insider recently highlighted many professions that are increasingly being handled by remote teams, taking the list from a recent survey by FlexJobs. Some of these roles are transforming due to an influx of technology. For instance, marketing today likely means working on digital ad buys, creating branded content and reaching out to consumers through social media. This intensely internet-centric workload is compatible with full-time telecommuting, and frees companies to seek remote marketers.
Math and economics positions make up the fastest-growing segment of the remote work ecosystem. Roles dealing with financial planning, data science, statistics and research are spreading out around the country and world, allowing organizations to assemble teams from the best available professionals, no matter where those individuals are based.
Other industries mentioned by Business Insider include insurance, nonprofit organizations and real estate. Financial and transactional matters are being handled by dispersed teams rather than departments that all come together in one physical building. Provided companies have adequate collaboration tools in place, and HR departments hire employees who can handle the isolated nature of remote work, this marks the beginning of a promising new era for business operations.
Hiring Tips for Remote Organizations
While on some level there is no difference between hiring a remote employee and an in-person worker - in both cases, skills and cultural fit must be closely attuned to the company's specific needs - there are specific details that make a great telecommuting employee. It may pay for hiring managers to simply treat the remote nature of a position as another variable to adjust for during the process of creating a job description and hiring candidates. A marketing contributor who never comes into a physical office will need slightly different skills than one who is always present, even if the roles are based on achieving the same goals.
Contributing to Inc., Neil Patel recommended that hiring managers should get specific in their interviews regarding the traits that make a person an effective remote employee. This means determining whether the candidate has ever worked from home for extended periods of time, and if the individual has personal solutions for some of the challenges that may afflict telecommuting workers. For instance, do they know how to stay motivated and file work on time when there is no supervisor checking in?
Patel also called for companies to find the right kind of approach to fill a position. Whereas in some cases it may make sense to bring a worker in on a contract basis as opposed to hiring that person full-time, other situations are better handled via specialized and tailored agreements that can include unique and appealing perks. Flexibility and the ability to take each new hire on a case-by-case basis may help HR departments build high-quality remote workforces.