What Does a Head of Remote Work Do?
If it wasn’t obvious already, remote work is here to stay. Companies resorted to remote work during the beginning pandemic out of necessity when COVID lockdowns and restrictions shut down offices. But so many employees have enjoyed remote work that the trend has become permanent.
Seventy percent of companies said in a May 2021 Mercer survey that they plan to adopt a hybrid working strategy, which entails employees working in the office part-time and working from home part-time. Several large employers have already switched to hybrid work models, including Facebook, Adobe, Salesforce, Spotify, and Twitter. Companies and employees have seen the benefits of remote work, and there’s no turning back.
Because of this massive workplace shift, it’s led some innovative companies to create an entirely new executive position: Head of Remote Work. Also called Chief Remote Officer or other variations, a Head of Remote Work is a mashup of responsibilities similar to HR Managers and IT Directors.
A Head of Remote Work’s primary job is to lead a company’s strategic shift to a remote and hybrid work model, ironing out the kinks in technology to support remote employees and hiring practices.
Empire Resume will delve into what a Head of Remote Work does, including how common the position has become and the benefits of creating the position.
Responsibilities of a Head of Remote Work
The Head of Remote Work position emerged in 2020 during the pandemic’s first year, and it’s beginning to catch on. About 2% of companies had a remote work leadership role in August 2020. That number surged to 12% of companies in November 2020, according to T3 Advisors, a company that provides real estate and workplace solutions. That number will likely continue to grow.
But what exactly does a Head of Remote Work do? It depends on the company, as many innovative firms are just getting started with the position. However, there are some commonalities in how companies define the position.
The primary responsibilities for a Head of Remote Work are managing remote operations, partnering with IT to establish security protocols for remote work, and building solid relationships between remote employees.
A Head of Remote Work is responsible for a company’s overall remote strategy. This could include developing the schedules for when employees are in the office or working from home, hiring and interviewing employees for remote-only positions, and developing onboarding and training for remote workers.
A big part of the job is also creating a positive remote and hybrid workplace culture. This includes normalizing the idea that success at the company doesn’t hinge on location and where the employee is working.
This is important because various studies show that in hybrid work environments, managers can sometimes have “proximity bias,” meaning they give more praise to employees who are physically in the office. Therefore, a Head of Remote Work’s job is to train and work with managers to ensure remote-only employees aren’t getting passed over for promotions or become invisible.
Another essential part of the job is partnering with other departments to ensure the company’s remote work strategy runs smoothly. For example, this could involve working with the finance team to ensure there’s enough money in the budget to support remote workers with things like materials for home offices or collaboration software like Slack for better communication.
Benefits of Hiring a Head of Remote Work
Remote work isn’t going anywhere, and companies that invest in the trend now will be better off. Remote work was gaining steam before the pandemic, and COVID-19 simply accelerated the trend. In fact, the number of people working from home has increased by a staggering 140% since 2005, according to Global Workplace Analytics.
Many companies are seeing the advantages of hiring a Head of Remote Work because of the many benefits. A top benefit is streamlining operations and making sure remote and hybrid work models run smoothly. Without a Head of Remote Work, the job would likely fall on the shoulders of the HR Manager and other department heads, who may not have the time or expertise to handle everything. This can lead to unnecessary expenses and problems.
Another benefit is boosting productivity among remote and hybrid employees. A hybrid model is still very new in the workplace, and things like Zoom fatigue, isolation, loneliness, and confusion over schedules can happen. A Head of Remote Work serves as a point person to ensure employees are achieving the right balance between working at home and in the office. They can also ensure employees adequately equipped to effectively get their work done.
A key concern of many companies about remote work is that workplace culture can be frayed, and there’s less chance of collaboration. This is another area where a Head of Remote Work can help. They can set up virtual team meetings, and other collaborative opportunities to ensure company culture remains strong and employees stay connected no matter where they are.
A Job Title You’ll Likely See More Often
Companies creating new and innovative executive roles isn’t exactly a new phenomenon. It’s common in the tech industry, where recent new executive positions include Chief Product Officer and Head of Diversity and Inclusion. Today, Head of Remote Work is another emerging executive role.
Even as we ease out of the pandemic, remote work has become a permanent part of the workplace. Many employees will return to the office soon enough, but there will likely be a hybrid model where employees work some days at home and some days at the office. Because of this massive shift, hiring a Head of Remote Work has become essential for many firms.
A Head of Remote Work is a newer position, and many companies are still ironing out the responsibilities. The primary task of the job is to ensure remote and hybrid work strategies run smoothly. In the post-pandemic workplace, a Head of Remote Work is a job title you’re likely to see more often.
Stay tuned to Empire Resume’s blog for more helpful employment and career insights, including articles like 7 Signs of a Fake Job Offer, Important Soft Skills to Include on a Resume, and How to Resign from Your Job.
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Maria Gold is a Content Manager/Writer for Empire Resume. She is dedicated to helping educate and motivate people with the latest career articles and job search advice. Her interests range from writing to programming and design. She is also passionate about innovation, entrepreneurship, and technology.