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15th Sep, 2022

Victoria Sartain
Victoria Sartain
Job Title
Senior Content Writer

Two and a half years on from the UK’s first pandemic lockdown, bosses still strive to find the right balance of home- and office-working for their staff.

In August 2022, the Office of Tax Simplification (OTS), the independent advisor to the government, launched a review looking for evidence of trends in relation to increasing numbers of people choosing to work in different ways and locations. It’s a sure sign that remote working is here to stay.

While hybrid working is becoming the norm – with Office for National Statistics (ONS) data indicating that more than 80% of employees who worked from home during the crisis prefer this format – permanently remote roles are also attractive to both employees and employers.

There may be fewer opportunities, but fully remote working can be a winning formula. Hiring remote workers allows you to choose from a wider pool of talent, can save you overhead costs and provide greater freedom for staff, wherever they are in the world.

Since 2020, recruiters have had to adjust – no longer welcoming applicants in person to their offices for a first or second interview but conducting the entire process online instead. With the worst of the pandemic behind us, managers can now finesse their techniques for securing the right people for permanently remote roles.

Reed’s Regional Manager Katie Cartner shares her recruitment tips:

Q: Pre-pandemic, it seemed fully remote work was quite rare, except for the self-employed. What types of companies and roles are seeking permanently remote staff?

A: It’s really varied: customer service, admin, project admin, accountancy and marketing. We have many clients who are international businesses, marketing companies, business consultancy and the NHS.

Q: What should companies consider during the recruitment process for a remote perm role?

A: Make sure your video interview questions are robust and that you will be happy with the candidate being inducted remotely. Ask more probing questions around self-motivation, discipline, and previous remote experience – you need to make sure as a manager that you have asked the right questions to know that the candidate would be right. Equally, make the candidate feel at ease by telling them your robust, remote onboarding process and what you do to keep team morale high.

Download our Ultimate Guide to Remote Interviews for all the tools you need to conduct interviews remotely.

Q: What should managers expect when conducting remote interviews?

A: Interviews are often shorter as the format requires managers to be more decisive. This means candidates haven’t got long to impress the recruiter at interview so every second counts. As long as managers have structured questions, they should be confident in their interview process. We have seen in some instances more testing being carried out to prove capability and back up the interview as well.

Q: What do you think companies/managers need to consider when onboarding a permanently remote employee into hybrid teams?

A: Include the remote employee in everything! All meetings need to be a mix of virtual and in person so everyone can attend, and if you are having a face-to-face meeting invite them – they may want to come. Check in more with someone remote than you would in the office. They are less likely to call you when they are remote based because they feel like they are bothering you. Encourage non-remote team members to also call them. Set up daily huddles so they see the manager/teams every day.

Q: How can managers help the new, remote employee feel connected?

A: Run a fun quiz to get to know each other and invite them to team lunches or socials. Make sure they are given shared business information at the same time as on-site staff and not seen as an afterthought.

Read how to manage a team remotely for more advice on how to best support your team.

Q: How can companies/managers help their remote employee avoid burnout?

A: To avoid staff burnout, be sure to schedule regular check-ins. Make sure employees are not always working late hours and encourage them to take breaks, and mix things up so they’re not constantly at their desk – perhaps take that conference call on a walk instead of at your desk, for example.

Q: What’s the most tactful way to ensure the employee is being productive without crowding them?

A: Managers might suggest three daily check-ins and make sure the employee is happy with what needs to be done and has the support they need to complete it. Give them a mentor in the team so they have someone else to go to, other than the boss, who can also see how they are getting on.

Q: Why do you think permanently remote roles are attractive to employees and employers?

A: For employees, remote working offers more flexibility with family and personal commitments, less commuting costs, and helps them get more work done owing to fewer distractions. For employers, it’s an opportunity to save costs, for example by downsizing or eliminating the office or having a more efficient workforce owing to fewer distractions. It can also result in more commitment from employees, who appreciate the flexibility and trust that money can’t buy!

Q: In your experience, what is the general attitude towards fully remote work?

A: Hybrid working is still more popular in finance, accountancy, marketing, procurement, sales and office support, and it’s a mix of the role being able to be carried out at home due to IT infrastructure and that the clients still don’t trust people to be able to work from home.

Q: As someone who has good experience of placing remote workers successfully, what key things do you like to do to ensure a good match?

A: I look for someone who can present themselves on video, has the key attributes for the role, is not afraid to ask for help, is committed to their future career and not just looking for a role just because it’s remote. They have to want the job and the remote part is a bonus.

Looking to find your next remote employee? Our recruitment experts can find you the right employee across 20 sectors. Get in touch with us today.