What to look for in a new remote employee

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Remote working is here to stay, with many employers realising that a lot of jobs can be done from home, with no impact on productivity levels. Prior to the lockdown, only 27% of UK employees were working from home - inevitably this has increased due to the pandemic. It is currently estimated that 46% of employees are now working remotely.

As the UK is starting ease back to normality again, the next opportunities your business has, could be filled by remote working, or mostly remote with the occasional meeting on-site.

Clearly, successful technical talents need the skills and abilities to do the work.

However, to be a success in a virtual environment it takes specific soft skills – in reality, not everyone is cut out for, or suit working from home on a full-time basis.

While there’s no such thing as an ‘ideal’ remote employee, at RHL Recruitment we believe that these are the questions to consider when finding out if a technical professional will be a good virtual member of your team – someone you can trust to do the job.

Is the mindset right?

With fewer interactions between employee and manager when remote working, self-motivation and a sense of purpose are crucial.

As an employer, it is obvious that you will have to make sure that any new employee receives proper onboarding plus the right support and tools to do their work. However, through our work at RHL Recruitment the best remote employees manage their time effectively, able to concentrate on their work without being shadowed by someone. 

Trust and accountability are important in any manager-employee relationship, but it’s very clear that this is now true especially when it comes to remote working.

Can they thrive in a home-based environment?

Some people need the stimulus of being surrounded by colleagues, and in the formal structure of the workplace environment, to work at their best.

And employees who had time in a physical workplace before lockdown will have had a chance to form team relationships that stood them in good stead for the months of solitary home working.

Home-based working means there’s less spontaneous interactions with other staff – new remote employees might find it difficult to build connections, however the most successful ones will not let that hamper the quality of the work produced.

Good communication skills?

Majority of the time, employers will search for employees with ‘good communication skills’ in job adverts, though if you are wanting remote workers – it is even more crucial for professionals to have this skill.

Communicating online is harder than in person, so new virtual team members must be effective communicators.

This includes replying to messages quickly and fully without being chased for information or updates. Not only is this important for remote workers, but they must also be able to form rapports with colleagues and clients over a screen, furthermore knowing how to project the right body language and the right tone of voice in each situation.

Would they rather be in office?

Although many people who’ve started working from home since lockdown now say they’d like to continue doing so, don’t assume everyone shares that viewpoint.

Some employees feel strongly that they’d like to get back to a physical workplace where they’ll have an easier and more natural team experience (when it’s judged to be safe enough, of course). And working remotely full-time is a different prospect to taking a job where there is the possibility of returning to a physical workplace.

Many technical talents are desperate to find work in this extremely tough employment market, and some might be willing to take a job that they know they’re not cut out for - or will enjoy. So it’s worth encouraging honesty about whether in fact being based at home alone is an ideal scenario after all.

The coronavirus pandemic has shown us that - if it’s logistically possible for your business - remote work is the future to prepare for. And although this new way of working will take some time to get used to, finding team members who can happily thrive remotely is a crucial component to help your organisation keep growing in uncertain times.

Get in touch

At RHL Recruitment we keep a close relationship with our clients, with more of them looking to hire talent that are willing to work remote. Whether you’re recruiting for contract or permanent help, get in touch for advice on how to find the right home-based staff for your business.


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