In 2016, about 43 percent of the workforce spent at least some time working remotely. The steady growth in remote work in America is due to several factors, including better work-life balance and higher productivity. Overall, remote work leads to a happier workforce.
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While leaders and managers used to fear that remote employees would lose engagement with their teams, advances in technology have enabled workers to stay connected regardless of their distribution. Now, many companies rely on entirely remote workforces.
Companies have also begun to realize that beyond boosting productivity and engagement, remote work options also allow them to tap into wider talent pools. Where geography had previously been a barrier to hiring in the past, filling high-level leadership or specialized technical positions with top candidates is much easier when relocation is no longer necessary.
The shift toward a more remote workforce is also spurring changes in the software HR professionals use to do their work. In the past, most human resources departments worked with legacy systems, but today, the work is being done with solutions the bring new dynamics to the picture.
Let's unpack six ways remote work is changing HR software:
1. Project Management and Recruiting
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There are hundreds of cloud-based systems out there now, just for recruiting alone. That approach is essential in a landscape where both the hiring team and the candidates are remote. With employees in other locations, time zones, and sometimes countries, it's critical to have tools that allow hiring team members to coordinate next steps in the process, share notes, and store all of that information in one central, accessible place.
Remote work has changed the way HR departments handle payroll. Many companies have begun outsourcing the work to experts who can pay employees through direct deposit. New payroll tools also offer online portals where employees can manage their own account information. This is essential for team members who may live some distance away, as they can't knock on the HR office door when they have questions.
It's no longer necessary that your workers show up in the same physical location for onboarding and training. Remote workers can attend classes and conferences from the comfort of their living rooms through learning management systems (LMS). These platforms have made significant advances in their offerings, providing learners with the opportunity to learn at their own pace and on their own time. LMSs also allow companies to better assess the overall effectiveness of their training programs.
4. Virtual Meetings
Remote employees can attend staff meetings with ease – even if they're wearing their favorite ratty t-shirt or still haven't changed out of their shorts from the morning run. Products like Zoom, join.me, Highfive, and others make it easy for team members to congregate in multiparty video chats and share their screens. Plus, plenty of companies still get mileage out of old standbys like Skype and Google Hangouts.
Recruiters, meanwhile, have been using digital technology to conduct video interviews for years. The only difference now is that the recruiters themselves may also be working remotely.
5. Team Communication
Internal chat has become a modern-day standard for most organizations. Platforms like Slack, Flowdock, and Hipchat make it possible to communicate with your team throughout your day from virtually anywhere and on any device. HR teams without a built-in social tool in their HR software can turn to one of these products to keep colleagues connected.
Remote workforces rely heavily on technology for every business function, from HR and marketing to sales and strategy. Switching between many different tools on any given day can be a huge draw on time and energy – not to mention the pain of remembering all those passwords.
In response to this reality, many HR solutions are becoming integration-rich, allowing their users to pick and choose various add-ons that are most useful in their unique circumstances. Integration-rich solutions make it easier for team members to manage their day-to-day technology usage, ensuring that tools are constantly helping them, rather than burdening them.
Remote work has changed HR software by setting the stage for innovative solutions in project management, payroll, training, recruiting, and many other fields. Whether you're in the market for an all-in-one solution or just need a platform to support one aspect of your organizational workflow, myriad options now exist to make remote work a viable reality.
Jessica Barrett Halcom is a writer for TechnologyAdvice.com.