By Josyana Joshua, Howard University News Service
Washington, D.C.— With the coronavirus continuing to spread worldwide, companies are staring at the option of remote work now more than ever.
Working from home isn’t a new concept, considering that before the industrial revolution most people worked from their homes, but the concept of remote work has evolved and increased in popularity since technology has continued to develop. In a 2016 study, Gallup found that 43 percent of people work from home at least sometimes. Although that is a sizable percentage, working from home is still not the norm for most employees in the workforce.
Covid-19 has forced offices to close, causing workers to begin working remotely. It has also, unfortunately, forced those without the option or resources to continue working online, out of work. Those entering the workforce at this time are most likely going to be hired to begin remote work immediately.
“Those with immediate hiring needs don’t want to lose momentum in terms of meeting business needs, so organizations seeking continuity are making new hires even if they aren’t interviewing new candidates in person,” Paul McDonald, senior executive director at staffing firm Robert Half International said in an email.
“Starting a job remotely is not always easy for a new hire,” McDonald continued. But it can be with the right support from managers and those hiring.
“Managers must be sure to offer the right technology, setting realistic expectations, encouraging a supportive team culture and creating a coaching plan. With open lines of communication and a comprehensive onboarding plan, new hires will be able to hit the ground running and feel comfortable in their new work environment,” McDonald continued.
In addition to this, many internships for Summer 2020 have either been canceled or transitioned to online work. Companies still recruiting interns for the summer, such as Bloomberg L.P’s news internship, are expecting interns to still be able to go into the office, but also have plans in place to make the internship digital. Full-time jobs have begun posting job notices for remote workers.
This pandemic has caused companies to hire full-time employees to work completely from home. It has also limited those who were recently hired to begin the remote option earlier than usual.
Eleanor Nabholz, a 23 year-old who got hired about two weeks before the pandemic forced offices to close, is now working from home without proper training on the job.
“The adjustment was a little tough at first, mainly because I missed out on an important in person training week due to the coronavirus. I was supposed to be trained in person the week of March 23rd with a trainer from Chicago, but that was cancelled,” Nabholz said in an email.
Some experts and companies say hiring employees for remote work first, could be a benefit to companies. Hiring remote first allows employees to train themselves and saves money for offices on training. It also allows companies to see who will be able to work in a modern hi-tech work space.
“As you continue to make new hires, you will not be bound by geography and will gain access to talent who may not have otherwise been able to dedicate 40+ hours in a traditional office setting,” McDonald mentioned as an added benefit.
He added, “For business leaders who may have been hesitant in the past to launch a remote work program, a situation such as this one that has forced them to adjust quickly and see that it can work for their company may result in changing their policies.”