For several years now the pressure to offer flexible working, thus enabling employers to recruit and retain the right talent, combined with increased access to affordable and reliable video-conferencing technology and collaboration tools, has seen a steady rise in the number of employees working from home. However, 2020 has seen a sharp increase in remote working as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and experts such as Stephen Shih, partner at global management consulting firm Bain & Company, argues that this is a trend that is likely to continue to accelerate.
Many employers are beginning to realise the benefits to the organisation of remote working. It can raise morale and commitment to an organisation that affords workers flexibility if and when their personal circumstances change, which has a positive impact upon the recruitment and retention of diverse and experienced employees. Remote working can result in savings for organisations by consolidating desk and office space, reducing car parking space and reducing other costs associated with having employees attend an office environment, such as heating and electricity. Further, it can lead to lower rates of absenteeism as employees may be more inclined to work even if unwell if the work can be completed from the comfort of their own homes.
Whilst there are undoubtedly many organisational benefits to remote working and, for now at least, it is expected, it is not without its potential drawbacks. Managers cannot directly supervise their staff or physically observe their performance. Employees may become more easily distracted by family commitments or simply feel less motivated to work whilst outside of the office environment, both of which may lead to a dip in productivity. Additionally, it may take longer for issues to emerge and providing timely, reliable and constructive feedback is more challenging for managers of remote workers. Importantly, too, remote working can lead to increased security risks. Employees may not adopt sufficiently stringent security standards to safeguard company equipment and confidential data within their shared homes.
When onboarding remote staff, it can be easy to overlook the screening process but, as the above highlights, it is essential in order to safeguard your business. Verifying a candidate’s skills and experience via qualifications checks and referencing is vital to ensure that he or she has both the knowledge and technical ability the role demands, and the discipline and proactivity to complete work to a high standard in a timely fashion, even when nobody is watching. Hiring the right candidate first time minimises the risk of customer dissatisfaction and means that you are less likely to have to invest time and resources in training and development. Further, ensuring that prospective remote employees pass the required criminal records checks or security screening not only allows you to fulfil your legal and regulatory obligations, it also fosters a culture of responsibility, so that remote employees are likely to more appropriately manage resources and data, thus safeguarding your organisation’s reputation.
Employment screening is the cornerstone to any organisation’s success. Getting the right people for the right roles is hugely important and that’s never been more true than it is today, with the dramatic rise in home working. Ultimately, efficient and effective screening will give you the confidence in your people that is so vitally necessary, now even more so than ever. Give Secure Screening Services a call and let us show you how our processes will help you achieve that.