The shift to remote work that began during 2020 is set to continue apace, with the technology industry leading the change. As the digital transformation across the economy accelerates, tech companies competing for in-demand talent are embracing remote work.
How they do this will determine whether they make the shift successfully.
The pandemic has seen people shop, study, and work online With the technology sector among those least impacted by the economic fallout from the COVID response and with the strongest jobs growth through the second half of 2020, employers will be catering for a growing demand for remote roles in order to secure the skills they need to thrive.
Indeed data shows sustained interest in remote working on the part of jobseekers. Searches for remote work in Singapore tripled almost overnight in early 2020 and have remained at that heightened level. For technology companies seeking to hire, this presents a clear imperative to implement remote work – and remote hiring policies.
The market for technology skills is global. For employers in Singapore, that means they are competing for talent with companies in other markets with a much longer history of working and hiring remotely.
It’s important for employers locally to remain receptive to both changing employee desires and established best practice to make the best possible shift to remote work and remote hiring.
Restructure the culture
The traditional idea of a 9-to-5, physical office space has evolved to a more flexible, hybrid arrangement. Employee work arrangements should be arranged to balance the genuine requirements of the role and business with both the employees’ preference and safety.
Under Indeed’s recent working policies, employees will either be completely remote, work in the office full-time, or both, depending on their role.
COVID-19 has challenged technology companies to rethink the work culture in addition to the practical aspects of work. As employees are increasingly comfortable with the flexibility of working from home and telecommuting, remote hiring and work options expand for hiring managers. These arrangements can expand access to quality talent and leverage the cream of the crop for their workforce.
Recent Indeed survey data revealed that the top policies and measures that employers in Singapore are planning to implement for 2021 are improved flexible work options (53 per cent) and increased work from home options (52 per cent).
Almost a third (31 per cent) of respondents think that more employers designing jobs with flexible working options built in from the start will be a permanent fixture in the future workplace, in 2021 and beyond.
Our Singaporean job seekers and employers have maintained a strong interest in remote work throughout 2020. Being in sync with jobseekers means moving hiring processes online and using virtual events, networking software and hiring platforms to connect with talent.
There are digital tools such as automated processes and video-based platforms that can maximise the experience out of the process. Interviews provide insights about candidates that resumes do not, so take advantage of the rare opportunity to interview candidates in a comfortable environment that allows them to really express themselves.
Pay attention to how they interact and how they think on the spot. Consider if they’re a good culture fit and take note on the ways that they can contribute to the team as a whole.
You should also look at how you structure and communicate your employee benefits in light of changed work practices. Some benefits, like on-site gyms and catering, will need to be reconsidered. Others may need to be deployed in a way that makes them able to be enjoyed asynchronously for employees in different time zones.
You can’t install a ping-pong table in people’s home offices or buffets in their kitchens. Delivering these kinds of on-site experiences in a remote work environment requires a creative and fresh approach. When examining work culture incentives, look to desired outcomes rather than specific initiatives to determine what will be appropriate for a hybrid or remote work future.
Those that create a shared sense of purpose and community should be prioritised to promote cohesion and combat the inherent isolation in shifting to remote work.
At Indeed we have instituted wellness days to preserve the capability and productivity of our employees working remotely. We have doubled down on one-on-ones between managers and direct reports to ensure that any issues are identified early and that remote employees know their concerns are being heard and acted on.
Tech employers should be aware of their leadership role in the shift to remote work as they will be providing the tools and knowledge that companies across the economy use to engage, manage and nurture remote workers.
Tech companies who ensure that remote hiring, work and management is productive, supportive and mutually beneficial will emerge as both cultural and commercial leaders in the new world of work.
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