Are HR Jobs Suitable For Remote or Hybrid Working?

Over the past few years, businesses have seen a major shift in how people work as they trade full-time office jobs for remote and hybrid roles. For a large number of positions, the move has been pretty seamless and has even improved work in several areas such as productivity, efficiency, and job satisfaction. But what happens when it comes to HR roles?

Traditionally, HR positions have been in-office; however, it’s not uncommon for businesses to now have a remote HR department and, with the right setup, it can work brilliantly and be a great benefit for employees on that team.

Here’s all you need to know about working in a remote or hybrid HR role.

Woman talking on phone working remotely

Should HR team members work remotely or in the office?

If you work in human resources, you may be wondering whether you can enjoy the flexibility of remote work without changing fields.

The answer is yes – if your company allows it, that is! 

But, there are a few challenges. Most significantly, many businesses believe that HR team members need to be available in person all of the time or at least on a hybrid basis. But if other employees are remote, there’s no reason why HR employees can’t be too – it totally depends on the working model of the company.

Why are more HR teams going remote?

There are three important factors that have led to the increase in remote HR jobs:

1. The requirement for greater flexibility by employees: During the period following the COVID-19 outbreak, working remotely became the new normal, and people had the time and freedom to think about work-life balance. This led to a desire for greater flexibility, and now people from all departments (HR included) want remote or hybrid roles, knowing they can work just as effectively - if not more so - from home.

2. Increased competition for top talent: Now that remote work is demonstrably viable across the board, employees and candidates have a lot of negotiating power. Due to this, companies that want to hire the best talent must strengthen their benefits to fend off competitors. Those competitors can even be overseas. Today, it’s possible to use an employer of record (EOR) service to hire internationally without local entities. An EOR provider like Remote simplifies the global hiring process to the extent that any company can take advantage of it, so it’s not surprising that SMEs everywhere are increasingly looking to source applicants regardless of location.

3. HR is becoming more digital: With more tools and HR tech available for payroll, skills testing, recruitment, accounting, and more, working remotely is much more viable. That means many of the tasks done by HR teams don’t need to be completed in the office and working from home works just as well.

How should you deal with HR problems remotely?

One of the biggest challenges or concerns of having a remote HR team is how it will affect the team’s ability to manage staff. For the most part, this shouldn’t be an issue, but it does depend on whether the other employees are fully remote and the types of problems HR usually deals with.

Some top tips for dealing with HR problems remotely include:

  • Always maintain good communication with other employees, whether that’s on Google Hangouts, Microsoft Teams, Zoom, or email. When staff members know you are easily contactable this can help resolve issues quickly before they escalate into bigger problems.
  • Continue to follow HR procedures as you would usually. Just because you’re not always in person doesn't mean that normal policies should go out the window! 
Person looking at watch in front of laptop

Can disciplinaries be done remotely?

Yes! Disciplinaries are an essential part of HR and they can still be done remotely, according to CloverHR. Depending on the nature of the situation, you should consider whether a remote disciplinary or in-person meeting is best, but you can achieve a good outcome either way – as long as it’s well planned.

If you believe that a disciplinary can be conducted fully and fairly, then formally invite the employee to a disciplinary meeting (with adequate notice) and begin planning. Most often video calling is the best course of action, but consider the following questions:

  • Will you turn your camera on? As an HR representative, it’s a good idea to turn your camera on as this will improve communication with the employee and create a less overt atmosphere.
  • Should the employee turn their camera on? You should encourage the individual to also be visually present, however, be prepared if they don’t feel comfortable or refuse to do so.
  • How will an employee's representative or support witness be present? Employees have the right to have a union representative or a coworker 'present' at a grievance or disciplinary hearing, even remotely, so they will need to join the call.
  • Will remote disciplinaries increase the chances of recordings? If an employee chooses not to have their camera on it is much easier for them to record the meeting without permission so always make it clear whether recordings are permitted or not.

The pros and cons of working remotely in human resources

Pros

  • Can be more productive due to fewer distractions:

HR teams can be extremely busy dealing with different departments, queries, and tasks. Being in the office can make this list even longer, especially when anyone can just pop into your office with a “quick question.” (It’s not uncommon for staff members to go to HR with questions that could be answered by their line managers or colleagues, therefore leading to more distractions.) Working remotely, however, can boost productivity. Job search platform Indeed reports that around 57% of remote workers say they are more productive when they work from home. 

  • More confidential, especially if you don’t have a private office:

If you don’t have a private office in your place of work then there’s a risk that colleagues may see sensitive information simply by looking at your computer. Alternatively, at home, you’ll have more privacy to keep employee and company information safe.

Cons

  • Being in the office can make you more approachable:

No one should feel worried about going to HR for support or simply asking a question. Being present in the office can make employees feel more comfortable approaching you and therefore more satisfied at work.

  • It may be quicker to get answers when everyone is in the office:

With everything that HR does, even small delays can have a big impact on work. If colleagues are particularly slow at replying to emails or messages, it’s often quicker to speak to them in person and when you’re only on the other side of the office this is no problem!

Final Thoughts

More and more HR teams are going remote and it’s easy to see why! Today, office-only jobs seem a little outdated. With plenty of resources available and greater opportunities for hiring outside your local area, HR is well on its way to joining the long list of remote positions.

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