Why you need a Head of Remote and the pressing issues this person needs to address.
In the early stages of the global pandemic, when we were just being sent home from our offices, most of us probably assumed that working from home would be quite temporary. In the Allting team, we foresaw working from home until summer. Come fall, things would get back to normal. Now that we’ve lived with the consequences of COVID-19 for almost three quarters of a year, signs are emerging that organizations are preparing for a more permanent shift to remote work. As we wrote in our last blog, we at Allting believe that the future of work will, for many of our clients, include a hybrid work model, e.g. 2-3 days in the office and 2-3 days remote. Whether your organization will work fully remote or implement a hybrid model, it is likely that you are going to need a Head of Remote.
Some have already started
A few forward thinkers (primarily tech companies) have already started hiring for this position. Facebook, who earlier this year announced a permanent shift to work from home for some employees, has a job listing for “Director, Remote Work”. Okta and Quora are other examples of companies who are looking to have a dedicated resource to manage remote work. Gitlab, a fully remote organization with 1300 staff in 67 countries, already has a Head of Remote in place.
So, what is a Head of Remote responsible for? Darren Murph, Head of Remote at Gitlab, told Washington Post that it could include “writing guidelines for things like reducing meetings and navigating time zones, acting as a liaison to legal teams thinking through tax issues for employee moves, planning online events to keep the company culture from fading and advocating for remote employees when planning benefits”.
Pressing issues that need attention
Surely, the areas of responsibility mentioned by Mr. Murphy will be important parts of what the Head of Remote is to address. It is, however, our belief that the future Head of Remote will and should primarily focus on matters such as adapting operating models for remote work, how to create employee engagement in remote teams and mental health aspects of remote work. These are the deeply challenging and pressing issues that need to be handled swiftly.
Evidence of how remote work is affecting us negatively is already starting to mount. As reported by the Economist, employees experience more meetings, more emails and longer hours. Microsoft has found that the pandemic has caused people to work 25% more compared to pre-pandemic. The same report concludes that over 30% of frontline and information workers say the pandemic has increased their feelings of burnout at work. “Zoom fatigue”, an expression coined during the early stages of the pandemic, is now a generally known condition.
Finding means of coping with the new normal based on remote work will be critical to creating a sustainable future of work. This is where the Head of Remote needs to concentrate his/her efforts.
At Allting, we help our clients make the transition to remote work as productive, engaging and rewarding as possible. We focus on improving a key aspect of remote work; meetings. Allting let’s you keep a pulse on your team by tracking meetings, using artificial intelligence, data science and feedback from participants. Don’t miss your chance of getting early access to Allting.