Dell Remote Company Q&A
Mohammed Chahdi, Director, Human Resources - Interview with Remote.co
It’s critical. Flexible work options reduce our impact on the planet, create happy and more productive team members, and help Dell win by attracting and retaining the best talent. Working flexibly is just the way we do business at Dell.
Work flexibility allows team members options for how, where, and when to do their work. These options create a collaborative work environment between the needs of the company and the team member. A flexible workforce is just as productive (if not more so) as the traditional office model—reducing the global carbon footprint, and helping individuals balance their work life and their personal life. Bottom line: it’s an advantage and a benefit that helps Dell be successful.
Dell builds technology that enables people to do their best work at any time, from anywhere in the world. So it only makes sense that we were early adopters of flexible work arrangements for our own team members. Recognizing that today’s global work environment promotes creativity and collaboration outside of traditional office hours and locations, in 2009 we created our work flexibility program called Connected Workplace.
Autonomy and self-discipline are absolute requirements for remote workers. We look also for people who are proactive in their approach to their lives and their work.
We use video interviewing technology that allows us to have just-in-time video interviews as well as pre-recorded so that the candidate can respond via video on their own time. We know our candidates are busy people!
We use social media and various digital properties to share remote stories featuring our employees on an ongoing basis. In particular, we love Instagram as it is primarily employee-generated content and is very authentic. Our employees post about working from home on a Friday with a photo of them in their backyard working outside or with their pet and tag @LifeatDell. Our team scans Instagram for those posts and re-posts to our account. It’s simple and very successful.
Our recruiters speak to our remote work setup and process and what to expect. We also encourage our interviewing teams to have someone included in the interview stage who also is a remote worker.
We do background checks and some of our locations and business units use third-party assessments—for example, in our sales organization.
We have all of our on-boarding materials in a digital format, including a website, documentation, and video. We also have a Day 1 success team that is dedicated to providing support via chat/IM, email, and calls during the early part of on-boarding. The feedback from our new employees has improved significantly as a result of this approach.
Yes, we aim for once a year meetings in person.
Communication is key. Keep the lines of communication open at all times, whether through regular meetings or just a quick check-in via instant messaging.
Ensuring the team member does not feel forgotten or overlooked in regards to regular updates to development opportunities based on them not having the face-to-face relationship.
Communication and information sharing are key. Dell has developed and actively supports an Employee Resource Group (ERG) called Conexus that champions a flexible work community by creating a collaborative work environment. Participation in the group gives our team members an outlet to share their experiences, questions, and success stories, and provides valuable resources.
I had no real fears of managing remote workers, but I always am cautious to ensure I communicate regularly and that my virtual door is always open for them.
Our remote work policy was implemented formally in 2009 via Dell’s Connected Workplace program. This program enables eligible team members to work remotely, at variable hours or in other flexible capacities that fulfill the needs of both their job and their lifestyle. Before Connected Workplace, flexibility at Dell was informal, with most arrangements being made one-on-one between team members and managers.
First, do your due diligence. Explore if—and to what degree—your organization can support flexible work arrangements. Talk with other companies to gather best practices and lessons learned. Create remote program strategies and policies that will work for your company. Educate leadership/management on work flexibility. Partner with IT/facilities/HR. Build a robust back office that offers training, toolkits, and FAQs. Design regular health checks and progress dashboards to measure the state of the program. Communicate and collaborate with your workforce to develop a program that allows mutual benefits and positive results.
There were several challenges we encountered that led us to make accommodations early on in the development of the program:
- Overall adoption of the practice and any barriers to entry, for example, how widespread will adoption be, who will be early adopters, which employee groups will be unable to participate and/or won’t want to, etc.
- Leadership perceptions and recognizing a remote employee can be just as productive (if not more so) as an office employee
- Providing leadership with training and tools to ensure success within their teams
- Ensuring seamless technology access across any geography/country
There are several modes that the team uses: instant messaging, online meetings, team meetings, project collaboration, or email.
Technology is constantly changing and improving the way we interact remotely.
There are so many benefits whether personal or professional. For me I’m able to take additional time to focus on physical well-being and my family.
It can be hard at times, but you need to disconnect in order to be successful professionally and personally. I’ve made my home office in a separate location. I ensure that when I am with my family, I’m focused on them.
Have your office space in an appropriate location not within areas used during personal time. Learn that the work will still be there in the morning.