Over the last few weeks we have seen a huge change in how we work. We have seen millions of people move to homeworking and the pace at which this has happened has been phenomenal.
While we may have been forced by circumstance to change how we work, we will never fully go back to how things were before. Business leaders will make the most of the benefits they have found from this new flexible way of working and the homeworking revolution!
But potentially HR will be harder to deliver with people working remotely (it’s hard enough doing HR when people are in the office!), so new ways of working will also call for better ways to deliver HR.
So, let’s look at what role HR can play in managing a remote workforce and how HR can work remotely in some key areas; compliance, protection and communication; and transactional HR.
This includes ensuring the business has the right HR foundation in place. Good contracts of employment, plus policies and procedures, standards and codes of conduct (generally found in an employee handbook). These are required not only to meet legal requirements, but also to provide protection and flexibility for the organisation, and clarity for employees.
Importantly, all these documents need to be kept up to date with legislation and clearly communicated to all employees. There is no point trying to rely on out of date documents and no point in keeping your employee handbook on a shelf gathering dust. Documents needs to be issued to each individual and kept up to date, and this needs to include anyone working remotely.
And, if you do have home workers, you need to include new homeworking policy!
I would consider this to be the HR foundation. It’s a bit like building a house. You would not build a house without solid foundations, so you should not employ people without solid HR foundations. Otherwise your time is continually distracted with issues.
This is where combining traditional HR and technology can really work. With YourHR.space, our unique HR platform, the first step is for our HR experts to work with you to draft all the documentation you need (tailored to your organisation). This is then delivered via your branded YourHR.space HR portal. It’s like having your own HR Intranet, but it can be accessed (by employees and managers) from anywhere and on any device. It’s ideal for both remote workers and those working in the office. Employees can access all the information they need wherever and whenever they need it.
Your content is then continually updated by our HR experts and changes are communicated to employees. You will never be out of date and employees will always be kept informed.
There is a lot to ‘do’ in HR. From issuing documents to new employees, collecting required documentation from new starters, induction, holiday management, maintaining employee files, absence monitoring, documenting changes in terms, dealing with general queries and questions about anything from ‘how much holiday entitlement do I have left?’ to requests for flexible working.
These transactional areas of HR can be time-consuming and can be made harder if you have a remote workforce. But it is essential to get these rights for legal reasons and so that HR has credibility! And if you don’t get these basics right, it can lead to all sorts of problems. If you do not have a signed contract of employment on file for an employee, it can restrict what you can do and the decisions you can make. If you don’t have the ‘right to work in the UK’ information, you could be vulnerable to fines. If you don’t document changes in terms clearly, you can find you have a dispute if there is any misunderstanding. If you don’t monitor holiday properly it can lead to operational problems (too many people off at once) and incur costs if people take more holiday than they should. If you don’t monitor absence you cannot control it and reduce it. The potential issues and problems are endless.
YourHR.space helps streamline transactional HR. The online holiday and absence module allows employees to request holidays remotely and these can be authorised or declined by managers wherever they are. Online calendars show who is on holiday, how much holiday is outstanding etc. It will even calculate holiday for employees when they start or leave.
The database allows employees to update their own personal data remotely. Managers and HR can access contact information as needed and individuals’ documents can be stored on the system, removing the need for paper personnel files. This makes information more secure, easier to manage and means that whoever is looking after HR can also work remotely!
You can have an online induction process to give consistency to the induction process that could otherwise be difficult and disjointed for remote workers.
The contract of employment creator can even automate the preparation and issuing of contracts of employment. Employees can then sign their contract online and a copy is then automatically placed in their online file – for them and you to access when needed.
Remote working relies on technology to make it work. HR needs to rely on technology to make HR work! The benefits of remote HR management software will make HR easier, more effective and more accessible to employees.
Clarity around terms and policies will help set boundaries and expectations and ensure that a solid HR foundation is in place. It also sends a strong message that you take a professional approach to HR, improves engagement and ultimately helps you to be an even better employer.
Drafting of all your HR documents, policies and procedures, codes of conduct and standards, and employee handbook.
Building of your branded YourHR.space site, configuration, logins for existing employees and the launch of the site.