CEO IDU
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Erasing remote hire frictions in 2021

6th Jan 2021
CEO IDU
Columnist
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I recently grappled with the utopia and dystopia of building a business today. Where social distancing and remote working bring a set of challenges – but also significant opportunities and broader horizons than ever before. 

It has become easier to hire the ideal candidate, even though they have no intention of leaving their sleepy fishing village, rural community, beach house, or even secondary city or town away from your HQ. They could be based on the other side of the country or the world, and it would still be entirely feasible for them to be an active and valuable part of your team. 

However, the world now needs to move beyond the immediate workplace to facilitate the post-pandemic world. Even with a vaccine, now a fortunate short-term reality, it is unlikely that former workplace habits will be restored lock, stock and barrel. 

For significant lifestyle changes, this is particularly true. Many have relocated their families, given that good schools are now at the end of an internet connection rather than at the end of their street. Others have replaced onerous commute times with leisure activities and exercise.

Far-flung hires from remoter parts of the country

It’s great having your star hires based hundreds or thousands of kilometres (and potentially several time zones) away from you when everything goes smoothly. IT can set up their devices remotely, support them with software issues, and remotely manage their machines to troubleshoot and fix faults. 

But what happens when a piece of hardware fails and needs to be ordered and installed by a technician? How do you get a temporary replacement device to the employee to avoid downtime? Or the internet goes down, and there are no alternative access options thanks to the remote location? 

One thing is for sure, delivery services, options and costs to far-flung and remoter parts of the country are going to need to improve to better support a dispersed workforce. Not only for IT support, but also for the regular ecommerce purchases these people will be making. 

It’s not going to be good enough for ecommerce providers and platforms to have one delivery schedule and rate for metropolitan areas, and another for out of town.

Internet access technology for remote workers

The same goes for internet access technology. The fastest speeds and latest technologies typically launch in metropolitan areas and spread from there. They also follow the money. So if there isn’t enough demand, they simply don’t go there, and people have to make do with older, slower access methods. 

But now, power users are going to be anywhere and everywhere. Consider the data scientist, for instance, living and working in a rural area and needing fast internet access, and lots of it. 

Unfortunately, the data scientist is not the exception proving the rule. This example applies to all of us, with our reliance on cloud services for work, online education services for schooling and streaming services for leisure. 

These and similar frictions will be removed eventually, which is good news for people who have previously had less access to affordable services. And for regional businesses who had been paying a premium in time and money to serve a more remote customer base. 

It’s also good for the future of the workplace, making it easier for some of our new improved, remote working habits to stick. And finally, there is a great opportunity for service providers to proactively address these frictions and achieve a first-mover advantage in 2021.

 

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