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Tech, HR, and the Future of Remote Work

Remote work is here to stay. In light of estimates that around a quarter of Americans will be working from home in 2021, human resource departments have to be aware of the tech and trends that can support these workers. For every able business, offering remote work brings certain benefits. With indicators that remote work leads to increased happiness and productivity, providing these options to workers has become not just a perk but a necessity. As companies adapt their remote work policies, HR departments need the tech and solutions to take them successfully through the future of remote work. Here’s what you should know about the advancing working world. And the means to promote remote worker success for years to come.

How Remote Work Changed the Playing Field

When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, the working world shifted quickly. Organizations rapidly threw together approaches to provide remote work options to employees and support safety and social distancing.

This sudden shift enables a host of positive factors in supporting workers. But depending on how they’re implemented, remote workers face unique challenges. For example, some managers fear that their workers will not be working if they’re not in a physical office environment. So they have mandated things like always-on video conferencing.

To mitigate the problems of coordinating an effective remote work approach, HR departments are vital. Your HR team helps support remote work policies that offer the benefits needed to reduce burnout and promote success. A useful approach to remote work means tech-supported flexibility that helps rather than monitors workers. Remote workers especially value flexibility and freedom making them more likely to experience a negative attitude towards their work if they feel they are micromanaged.

With all kinds of opportunities open to a global workforce connected virtually, the playing field has changed for the future of remote work. With workers facing burnout while attempting to juggle work-life balance, HR departments need the tools and resources to prevent problems.

For example, due to COVID-19, one in four women are looking to quit their jobs or reduce hours to manage the strain of a heightened workload. Balancing a host of concerns and responsibilities while working remotely can take its toll.

Fortunately, HR teams can use tech to improve the work experiences of all remote workers.

How HR Can Use Tech to Improve Work Experiences

The shift to remote processes in a digital world means that HR teams have the potential to offer benefits previously impossible. Advancing technology is the reason for these benefits. With comprehensive platforms for tracking, monitoring, and promoting employee success, HR professionals can apply both automation and self-serve options to support their workforce.

In addition, synchronized cloud technology enhances the ability to communicate with workers from wherever they are. As high-tech systems like artificial intelligence become increasingly accessible, businesses can streamline their approach to assisting their workers.

Here are the technologies that will define the future of remote work for HR:

Enterprise Artificial Intelligence

Enterprise AI involves the use of smart algorithms to make large-scale business decisions. These tools are transforming the field of HR, leading to innovations in everything from proficiency tracking to recruitment improvements.

AI is made accessible through Software as a Service (SaaS) options. These help HR teams automate a host of tasks that take up much of their daily time. For example, with the right AI system, HR managers can automate the initial sludge through stacks of resumes and match potential employees through semantic language pairing. As a result, they can more conveniently narrow down their search to candidates with an ideal resume.

At the same time, payroll solutions are possible through the tracking of hours, benefits, PTO, and more. A smart system will be able to perform self-audits and catch more problems before they hit an employee’s paycheck.

Cloud Solutions

But these AI innovations would be difficult to pull off without the help of cloud data systems. More companies are realizing the benefits of a cloud data service that can safely protect their information over a highly encrypted and backed-up network. In the remote working world, this frees up time for developing high-security practices while improving the ability of employees to communicate digitally.

For example, a cloud system can allow a team of workers to communicate and brainstorm in an effective digital space that is synchronized to account for time zone differences. With the help of tools like these, you can improve your brainstorming sessions with digital whiteboards, collaborative editing tools, and group documentation all on a secure platform.

Virtual Spaces

Virtual spaces are the future of remote work. Your ability to keep your teams connected and address worker concerns will come down to how you can interact with one another. HR might feel a bit displaced without in-person, face-to-face interaction with co-workers. But virtual spaces may offer the solutions you need to support remote workers.

From virtual reality (VR) to mobile applications that keep remote workers informed on the go, there are more options for connecting in virtual spaces than ever before. Remote teams can use everything from common instant messaging and work collaboration platforms to virtual offices.

AI, cloud systems, and virtual spaces continue to adapt. HR can innovate with these tools to promote supportive employee solutions. This can mean streamlined payrolls, worker flexibility, and enhanced communication.

The Future of Remote Work

With the right tech strategy, HR departments can close the communication gap to engage a remote workforce. In turn, these teams can save time typically eaten up by extensive data entry and system management concerns.

Remote work is the future. And the future of remote work is dependent on human-centric tech solutions that promote a better working experience. Give your team the flexibility of cloud solutions and allow them to communicate through secure virtual spaces. As a result, you can better address concerns and reduce burnout.


How Startups Are Using Technology To Go Global

The quintessential startup of the ‘80s and ‘90s was an image of a person or two sitting in a garage, developing software or inventing a gadget. Apple, Google, and HP were all created this way. The image persists, with just a minimum of a place to sit and a laptop as all you need to start a business.

Thanks to technology, this image is antiquated. Many houses have a home office, and a startup’s employees could be lounging in said home offices around the world, meeting in person only sporadically. This is possible because advancing technology is improving communication, and collaboration over distance is becoming incredibly simple with the cloud. Even the legal quagmire of international payroll laws has an answer to help budding entrepreneurs pay their employees without a headache.

How, then, can you utilize technology to build your own startup across the globe?

Saving to the cloud

Using the cloud to share files makes collaboration with employees based anywhere in the world a simple task. While you can have your own server, many businesses opt to rent a server from a dedicated service, which then takes care of maintenance and any problems that might pop up. You can access the network drive associated with the server anywhere you have an internet connection, allowing you to drag and drop files on the go – from Japan to Germany, San Francisco to Toronto.

For example, a worldwide team is collaborating on a promotional video for their company. The visual effects lead is working late and finishes just before 11 p.m. From his office in Los Angeles, he saves the file to the network directory and leaves for home. In Sussex, the sound designer is taking her first sip of morning tea at 7 a.m., checking the drive, and sees that she can immediately start work on the music for the video. The entire process takes only as long as uploading and downloading the file.

There’s an app for that

Now that your employees can share files, your next step is managing the workflow for a dozen employees in 8 different countries. Asana and Trello, for example, track what work is completed, allowing easy collaboration. IDoneThis sends a daily email, with employees responding with what they accomplished that day.

This list includes translation services and international trading references, useful for any company that has gone global. Google Translate will work for a quick translation, and the phone app can translate text on-screen in real time. Gengo or Verbalizeit both offer full-time translators for professional needs beyond wondering what a short email says.

Internet phone lines

One of the biggest limitations in communicating over the internet is bandwidth – not distance. Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP, can bring employees halfway around the world into a conference room, provided both have adequate internet connections. With file-sharing and work management taken care of, you need actual interaction.

The internet as a whole has allowed for great strides in teleconferencing and telecommuting, making video conferencing and digital phone conversations – using the internet, not traditional phone lines – available at a moment’s notice. A tactic gaining traction in international companies is leaving an open connection on in a conference room, with remote employees hooked in, able to interact with passersby. A small company just needs an open monitor to do the same.

Paying your employees

Payroll basics aren’t hard for a small business – until it has employees in different countries. It’s a fairly significant task to deal with payroll laws from multiple countries, ensuring all of your workers are paid. We again turn to technology, with services available to help you navigate the murky waters of international payroll law. You (or your HR department) might be able to handle a few employees from different states, but when multiple countries come into play, technology can do the heavy lifting. This will help with what Quickbooks has identified as the worst cost for a fast-growing company: regulatory and tax costs, especially global tax costs

An employee thousands of miles away can virtually be in the same room with you. A small company may only have a few employees per country, let alone sharing time zones. Thanks to modern technology, location, languages, and different payroll laws are no longer obstacles for a startup going global.

Photo Credit: Marylou1504 Flickr via Compfight cc