Remote Control: Cat-In-The-Lap Productivity, Hiring and Retention

Updated content.

The Ladders Q1 2022 Quarterly Remote Work Report, released on April 04, shows that the predicted rise from 18% jobs permanently remote in Q4 2021 to 25% by the end of Q4 2022 was blown out of the water by a stunning increase, leaving us at 24 percent in Q1 2022 – meaning that the number of full-time jobs available remotely has nearly tripled in the past year.

And that means a lot more adapting for recruiters already besieged by the seismic shifts in the way we all live and work.  Of course, there’s nothing normal about the “new normal” – but adapting correctly can mean thriving rather than surviving.

In a world very different from the one we inhabit today, the reasons for remote hiring were often based in business decisions grounded in:

  • required skills being scarce in the business area
  • desired avoidance of the logistics relocation demands
  • demanding the best expert talent without relocation limitations

In today’s pandemic-disrupted world, COVID has remained the key influencer. Companies forced to take part in the remote work experiment found that they could indeed adapt and thrive, and may now consider the remote arrangement the most stable environment for long-term growth. After all, who really knows what’s going to happen next?

85% of managers predicted that having teams with remote workers would become the “new normal” in 2021 and beyond. In one sense, they were right; in another, they had underestimated the scale of the changes underfoot. The need to be conservative in our thinking has led to a lot of underestimation of how entrenched remote work is quickly becoming.

Image shows person sitting on the floor with laptop.
Remote work has become an international experiment for business.

And with the bottom line always in mind, items like productivity increases from remote workers – along with lower overheads – led to record profits for many companies across industries.

In early March 2020, in the face of growing concerns about COVID-19 and increasingly loud whispers about lockdowns, Ladders founder and then CEO, Marc Cenedella, brought two things to the Ladders table : leadership and his laptop. The table itself was in his kitchen.

This happened after he ordered an “experiment” to evaluate how the company would cope if obliged to work remotely under potential lockdowns. Online meetings were brushed up on or practiced, then everybody went their own ways, hoping to stay connected.

At the time, the move was so surprising that The Washington Post interviewed him and wrote an article: “This New York CEO put his company in a simulated coronavirus lockdown”. The proactive move meant that Ladders didn’t miss a beat when the lockdowns hit.

Remote working worked out surprisingly quickly – for us and for those who followed us. Make no mistake, then, remote hiring is here to stay – throughout 2022 and beyond.

We speak from experience.

Remote Hiring: Social Distance & Success

A potential remote candidate for your company is likely to know nothing about you, what you do, how you do it, or the kind of talented people you choose to help you do it well.

Except for your online presence. 

The value of your company website and social media presence has gone up.

So how is your careers page looking? Does it reflect your company culture? Does it show the team and have cool short stories about remote working with the company?

Image shows a laptop showing a business website.
Does your website have all the insight it needs for candidates?

How about a bunch of faux TV screens thrown onto the page? Photos of team members in each, along with names and titles beneath? And all with little lines interconnecting them?

As each is clicked, a video of that team member opens and they talk about the company, culture, working remotely, and how its all done effectively and enjoyably?

Too cute?

Fair enough. Your page should at least give a sense of the team, the culture, and how remote working functions. This is all critical information for a potential new hire. Especially as it establishes critical structures in an informal, even fun way.

Cat-In-The-Lap Productivity

The idea of remote work runs seamlessly with the thought of flexible hours. Do a bit here. Do a bit there. I work best late at night or under a tight deadline, anyway. The cat needs attention.

Image shows a person at a laptop with a cat in lap, watching the work.
Remote work: Cats are taking center stage in many companies in 2022.

Hence the structures mentioned above. Hence the need for a strong website and social media presence that promotes your culture and remote work ethics and habits.

Answer this: What is the work-life balance of your remote employees?

Timelines and deadlines, video meetings, schedules, fun video get-togethers, informal meeting requests, cat-in-the-lap five-minutestandups”, online happy hours — it all matters.

Make potential flexibility and necessary availability known from the get-go.

Are time zone issues connected to the position? Regions that must be catered to by your new team member? Timelines that must be followed? Deadlines met? Meetings attended on a regular basis?

All nailed down? Then smile as those on-camera cats jump around.

Sourcing & Establishing Career Success

Appearing in directories dedicated to remote careers is a good idea for sourcing needs. High-ranking roundups of companies that hire remote workers are a good place to be seen.

Your social media presence could get inroads in remote working communities on Facebook, for example. 

Here at Ladders, we have a remote work only job search feature for our $100K+ professionals, which lists all relevant jobs for remote experts. Once they start a search, the option appears.

So targeting for high-level remote experts is easy.

A yellow sticker on a laptop says: Work remotely.
At Ladders, targeting based on recruiter needs is a specialty.

Targeting & Training

Still, targeting for talent may need to be followed with training for remote productivity.

Screen for compatibility with your company: Compatible OS, software: product management, internal communication tools, etc., high-speed connection and so on.

Decide the value of the candidate: What investments in hardware, software, upgrades — and training would be required? It’s much harder for a remote worker to learn as they go.

Touching Base in Cyberspace

And if you haven’t upgraded your website and social media for remote hiring, or have opted for a low key approach, consider the following:

Video interviews with candidates — in which team members talk through the culture and the structures mentioned above.

Easy investment, long term payoff.

A person watches a training video on a laptop.
Online interviews, onboarding and training are strongly advised.

Another employment element whose value has skyrocketed is competencies.

Competencies cannot be trained into people; and cannot be viewed and assessed in-house, so assessing core competencies is critical. A short list includes:

  • self-discipline
  • organizational abilities
  • communication abilities
  • collaboration abilities
  • time management abilities
Four people share a "cloud" thought that is empty.
Team work, yes. Guess work, no. Testing is better!

Don’t Guess, Test!

And that’s why pre-employment testing has recently become far more important for employers.  Also, trial employment periods are an option used by many companies before committing to a new remote worker.

But always ensure one thing.

Once onboard, your new employee is part of a remote team in which robust internal communication happens throughout each working day, including video meetings.

Your company’s unique usage of the OS’s and communications software has been second-nature from (pretty much) day one. And she soon feels a personal, dynamic working relationship with each team member.

It’s what we couldn’t resist calling Remote Control.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *