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Should We? Top 9 Reasons to Hire a Head of Remote Work

If remote work is here to stay, should there be an executive role dedicated to the associated challenges and responsibilities? It’s an interesting indication about the future of remote work that leading tech companies are hiring C-suite and senior level roles dedicated to this exact purpose. 

The widespread adoption of remote work is one of the most pivotal developments underway at the moment. Not only will it reshape how we work, but it has the power to change how businesses operate all together - not to mention the fascinating impacts on the economy, laws, education, lifestyle, infrastructure and more.

Tech Firms Leading the Way

Companies like Google, Microsoft and Facebook have shared their plans to enable and transition employees to work-from-anywhere indefinitely. Another interesting sign that remote work is less about the pandemic and more about the future of work is that these leading companies are hiring experts dedicated to optimising remote work policies. 

Facebook, Quora, Twitter and GitHub are a few of the companies with “Head of Remote Work” roles. There are also others, like GitLab, that already operated remotely pre-pandemic and had a senior leader in this role.

Increased Importance 

Once you realise that remote work can touch all areas of a business, you can see the significant need for dedicated thought leadership, responsibility and action in this space.

The implications of work-from-anywhere and distributed teams extend across the entire employee lifecycle. Given leaders across all departments in a business would need to support these new ways of working, it becomes apparent that a centralised role to lead the charge is required. 

Otherwise, a business is open to widespread inconsistency. Human Resources Executives (or similar roles in Employee Experience or People & Culture) have led much of this work during the pandemic by expanding their roles. Now is the time to acknowledge the importance of this work and dedicate a leader to the Head of Remote Work role. Looking for reasons why? Here are my top 9 reasons to hire a Head of Remote Work.

Top 9 Reasons to Hire a Head of Remote Work

1. Recruitment and Onboarding 

Design the approach to recruit and onboard a dispersed workforce; Incorporate the expectations of people leaders and the remote employees.

2. Fairness and Inclusivity 

Create practices and set expectations for how the company and its people will operate with fairness and enable inclusivity; Monitor and respond to any inequity across departments and by demographics.

3. Technology and Cybersecurity 

Audit the equipment, software and security of the remote workforce; Propose an agreed minimum level of requirements to operate effectively out of an office.

4. Performance Management 

Monitor and track productivity; Create new work methods that support online collaboration; Update performance management procedures and policies to suit a dispersed workforce. 

5. Training, Development and Mentoring 

Develop a company-wide approach to skills development that can predominantly be delivered virtually; Coach or mentor people leaders in their digital literacy and having difficult conversations virtually. 

6. Wellness and Connectivity 

Set the standard for wellness and connectivity with clear action-oriented values; Identify the appropriate reasons to gather people together and determine the acceptable investment in physical meetings.

7. Organisational Change Management 

Identify the behavioural changes required and lead the transformation across all work practices; Support and embed remote practices.

8. Voice of the Distributed Workforce 

Collect data and feedback (e.g. sentiment survey) to be the voice of the distributed workforce in executive forums; Respond to the needs of the workforce as they adapt to the remote environment.

9. Compensation and Perks

Audit of in-office perks and how that translates into a work-from-anywhere scenario; Create new perks for the remote worker; Update the compensation blueprint for the company based on the new work factors. 

Each of these areas require an understanding of the current state, a strategy, a budget, a delivery plan, employee incentives, metrics and more. Frankly, it’s a big role! 

These points essentially serve as the beginning of the job description! Anything you would add?

Temre Green, PhD

Temre Green, PhD

Head of Consulting Services, Australia & New Zealand. Temre has designed, planned and delivered business strategy and transformation programs that were driven by a range of factors, such as innovation, growth, compliance, regulations, restructures and economic downturns. As an Industrial-Organisational Psychologist, Temre has spent her career dedicated to organisational behaviour and the work environment. She is currently focused on the future of work and multiple areas of organisational development that support organisational growth and health.

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