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Friday, January 21, 2022

Companies offering remote work thrive amid labor shortage

For health reasons, a desire for work-life balance, or a preference to avoid commuting, workers across the country are taking a stand for the Home Office.

Of those surveyed, 58 percent said they absolutely prefer remote jobs, according to a FlexJobs survey conducted in July and August 2021. In addition, 39 percent expressed interest in a hybrid arrangement, while only 3 percent were willing to return to an entirely individual work environment.

As such, it is no surprise that some retailers, manufacturers and restaurants that require employees to be present during shifts are struggling to find workers. According to ManpowerGroup’s latest Talent Shortage Survey, nearly seven out of 10 companies have reported a talent shortage and a difficult time finding new employees. Companies with the least flexibility and the most individual positions are at the top of the list of difficulties in the recruitment department.

The other side of the equation is also true: Companies that work virtually and allow their employees to work remotely on a part-time or full-time basis are, in a word, thriving. A little over a year ago, Cimpress/Vista, which specializes in customer-focused, entrepreneurial mass customization, adopted a remote-first model.

“Since committing to sustainable remote working, we have made remote working a huge pillar of our culture in Cimpress and Vista,” Paul McKinley, head of remote at Cimpress/Vista, told The Epoch Times. “While many companies are still unsure about choosing a sustainable remote-first work model, our inbound applications have increased by 300%.”

New Frontiers Executive Function Coaching, a firm founded by Daniel Koffler, an entrepreneur based in New York City, has had a similar experience. The company provides individual and group executive functioning and academic coaching, life-long transition support, and professional development to teachers, professors, support staff, and employers.

“We work with people personally and virtually, but these days conduct business entirely remotely,” Koffler told The Epoch Times. The shift from an office to a virtual setting has made it easier to find workers for specialized roles.

A woman works outside her home on April 7, 2021 in La Habra Heights, Calif. (John Fredericks/The Epoch Times)

One advantage for companies shifting to remote roles lies in the expansion of the talent pool. Rather than relying on local geographic boundaries, firms can build a case for a wide net, sprawling counties and beyond.

McKinley explained, “We now have team members in 30 US states, which is three times more than before.”

Also, workers are attracted to work and live with companies that offer virtual alternatives.

“From an internal survey, 79% of our remote team members said they are more likely to stay in Cimpress/Vista as a result of our remote-first ways of working,” McKinley said.

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Employees cite improved balance as a key benefit, with 71 percent of team members at Cimpress/Vista reporting that their work/life harmony is improved by remote working, leading to better wellbeing.

“They’re also very open about the impact it can have on their families, being able to replace their time at school with meaningful moments like lending a helping hand to their kids,” McKinley said.

Remote working calls for a unique set of systems to maintain open communication, accountability and ultimately results.

“Our handbook spans a vast number of remote-first topics from communication principles and human resources programs through social interaction and building connections with team members around the world,” McKinley said.

To make the remote environment a win-win for both the employees and the firm, it is necessary to have a system that ensures accountability.

“As an organization, accountability is one of our core values,” Koffler said. “We specifically mention this during our hiring process, and revisit it constantly during our ongoing supervision and check-ins.”

These are daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly depending on the circumstances.

“We run our business through the EOS (Entrepreneur’s Operating System) approach, which emphasizes that everyone knows their role, has a specific set of goals that are tied to the goals of the organization—so if People are left to their own devices to manage their time, they know what they need to do to get the ball moving,” Koffler said.

Lastly, keeping everything as open as possible helps build trust and confidence.

Dror Zaffman, director of digital marketing for iCASH, a fintech company based in Canada that provides lending solutions and is partly virtual, “We try to make it as easy as possible for people to work from home “

“We have a culture of transparency, so there is little need for face-to-face interactions,” said Zaffman, who shares its monthly financial and quarterly performance reports with employees.

The growing company has had no trouble finding employees, and employees are kept up-to-speed on the company’s latest decisions and actions.

Rachel Hartman

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Rachel Hartman is a freelance writer with a background in business and finance. His work has been featured in national and international publications for more than 10 years. She lives in Miami and travels frequently.

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