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How To Incorporate A Flexible, Virtual Work Week Without Losing Productivity

June 5, 2020

Erin Iafelice

Millions of employees began working from home nearly overnight with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, as state economies reopen at different rates across the country, organizations are faced with creating a safe reopening approach. Many are easing back in, encouraging employees to continue working remotely for part of each week. It sounds simple, but in reality, it’s another major transition in workflows and employee behavior. How can managers and recruiters adapt successfully to another “new normal?”

Why going virtual isn’t easy

Employee reaction to going remote has been all over the board. While some have found they appreciate the benefits of being at home more, others don’t have great experiences. According to a national survey in April of nearly 3,000 employees by communications platform Slack, “Newly remote knowledge workers are struggling to adapt to their new workplace reality. They’re more likely to report slow, inefficient processes and communication, which can hinder operational speed and productivity. These challenges often ladder up to bigger issues that negatively affect workers’ sense of belonging and overall work satisfaction.”

The fact is that working remotely requires more independence than many employees (and their managers) are used to. A successful remote work team needs members who are more proactive and have more persuasive interpersonal skills. And, without the usual body language social cues to work from, members need to be more empathetic to head off potential conflicts arising out of a misinterpretation of communication. Going to a partially-remote work week means new expectations for hiring and managing.

Holding on to remote work’s productivity with best-fit employees

With remote work, some organizations are seeing productivity levels that are higher than they were pre-quarantine. Besides being safe in their return-to-work approach, organizations want to maintain that gain. Recruiters hiring from both external and internal talent pools are already looking to identify candidates with the soft skills and aptitude to manage a workweek that remains partly virtual. The pre-hire assessments integrated into Modern Hire’s enterprise hiring platform can help recruiters adjust.

Modern Hire’s assessment technology, Virtual Job Tryout, delivers a multimethod, multimedia evaluation that reports on essential, job-specific drivers of performance. These drivers can include soft skills like relationship-building, teamwork, judgment, decision-making, and technical aptitude. Virtual Job Tryouts are proven by more than 400 validation studies to predict on-the-job performance. They present

  • Realistic job previews give candidates an honest look at the organization, the culture, and remote and non-remote positions 
  • Job simulations that provide candidates an opportunity to try an immersive job experience, and  
  • Candidate-centric, mobile-first hiring experiences that make hiring personal for all candidates – whether recruiters are working just a few candidates or a high-volume applicant pool.

There are more than 60 pre-configured, ready-to-implement Virtual Job Tryouts for jobs and job families in healthcare, retail, financial services, and call centers. Modern Hire also customizes the assessments to predict on-the-job success specific to an organization and role. With Modern Hire’s pre-hire assessments, recruiters are better equipped to understand candidates’ fit for a position, whether it be partially or entirely remote. The use of these assessments enables both recruiters and candidates to make more informed employment decisions.  

Will virtual working drive internal mobility in the coming weeks?

Remote work isn’t for everyone. The transition to a partially-remote workweek may cause some internal shifting of responsibilities, job descriptions, and even managers. Modern Hire assessment technology can help recruiters and managers handle this internal mobility, too. HR teams may also roll out new training programs to help employees and managers adjust to remote work and build up the communication and interpersonal skills they need.

Employees need to feel connected to engage and work to their full potential. With a partially-remote workweek becoming more common, finding employees comfortable with virtual connections and having the skills to do it well have become essential. With Modern Hire’s enterprise hiring platform, TA teams have integrated science and technology to quickly find and hire candidates who will thrive in these positions.