Remote Work At Inspired HR
* As of February 2020
Inspired HR Remote Company Q&A
Debby Carreau, CEO & Founder - Interview with Remote.co
What does your remote-friendly company do?
We create great workplaces by offering human capital solutions in the areas of performance management, employee branding, human resources outsourcing, and client services. We strive to design solutions that provide the greatest impact on workplace productivity, employee engagement, and risk mitigation for our clients.
Did you switch to remote or start out that way?
We did not start as remote, rather we began in a very traditional office setting. We had an office in downtown Calgary in which we worked from daily. We did the switch based on our research and our client’s needs.
How important is remote work to your business model?
I believe remote work is extremely important to our business model. We strive to meet our client’s needs and to build long-term meaningful relationships with our clients. Therefore, it was imperative that we focused our attention and resources on the clients, rather than on expensive overhead and a flashy office. By switching over to home offices and client sites, we are more able to be there for our clients 24/7 and truly understand their needs, which is directly related to our goal of creating great workplaces!
What do you consider the biggest benefits of a remote workforce?
We have found there to be three key benefits of working remotely. The first is client service. By adopting a remote model, we are able to work with our clients when they need us. This not only improves client relationships and satisfaction, but it allows for our team to improve their work-life balance. The second important benefit of remote workforce is retention. Since we have transitioned to a remote workforce our retention is 100%. This is most likely a result of customer satisfaction, increased availability, and meaningful staff-client relationships. Lastly, a huge benefit of going remote is business growth. We have doubled our revenue, our margins have remained stable, and we have lowered our billing rates, enabling team compensation to increase. Moreover, since we no longer have costly overhead and the numerous fees associated with running an office, we are more able to take on smaller clients that would of previously been unprofitable.
What were the main reasons to integrate remote work into your workforce?
We did the research and found that clients no longer what to pay for expensive offices, overeducated people, and huge project teams for relatively simple tasks. Instead, they want authentic relationships and genuine value added to their organizations. Further, we had been consistently advising our clients to work from home, adopt flex-time, and ditch their office spaces, however the irony was that we were not following this model ourselves. We decided it was time to practice what we preach and go remote!
What traits do you look for in candidates for a remote job?
I lean towards people who are self-motivated, organized, work well with deadlines, and are very driven. We find these to be the best traits for a remote work environment.
What is your hiring process for remote workers?
We have been very fortunate as people normally come to us. Due to the fact that we work remotely, many individuals are intrigued by the flexible hours and the non-traditional work week. We find that many people come to us because our model works better with their lifestyle.
Do you have remote communication protocols for your remote workers?
I receive weekly formal reports from all my consultants and I have a minimum of one conference call per week with each of my staff. There is also constant email exchanges between team members and me. Most of our communication is driven by the client and what their immediate needs are. Frankly, I have a harder time trying to keep the team off their phones rather than on them!!!
How do you measure the productivity of remote workers?
We measure the productivity via deliverables – mainly that projects are done on time, the client’s needs are attended to, and client satisfaction surveys are positive.
What elements are key to successful working relationships with remote teams?
Frequent communication, appropriate resources, a culture of support, and the use of technology.
What is your time off policy for remote workers?
We have no formal vacation policy. It is important that our client’s needs are still met when a team member is away, so we make sure there is always sufficient coverage.
What were your biggest fears in managing remote workers?
We did so much research before going remote that we were not too worried about making the change. Once we made the switch, we never looked back! Both our clients and staff love the model, and we have found there to be very few downsides. One occasional difficulty is trying to figure out where everyone is at all times, however this can be managed with shared calendars, telecommunication, shared technology, etc.
How did you implement a remote work policy?
It was a formal process that included doing a lot of research, creating boundaries and parameters, and including our clients in the process.
What advice would you give to a team considering to go remote?
If you are thinking of adopting a remote workforce I would advise you to first do your research – see if a remote work environment would be something that your clients would value, and explore how other organizations are doing it (companies like Uber and Facebook are excellent examples). It is also important to include your clients in the process. Do not wait until you have already made the decision to tell your clients about it; discussing the changes with them before you make a decision will not only help to get your clients on board with the idea, but it will also make your clients feel listened to and valued. Further, keep in mind that working from home isn’t for everyone. Make sure to find the right people for the job – individuals that are self-motivated, engaged, and have a commitment to customer service are usually a great fit. I would also advise anybody thinking to go remote to make the transition part of your story. Clarity is extremely important – letting your current (and future) clients know why you decided to make the change will negate any speculation or unclarity. Lastly, I would advise you to make sure you execute the new model effectively. Make sure to measure your results, stay on top of your work and your clients’ needs, and most importantly, enjoy the new working model!
What are the most effective tools for remote team communication?
We communicate via telecommunication, specifically text messaging and email, we embraced cloud technology, and we have occasional in-person team meetings. In addition, we videoconference with team members in other cities as required. It is important to establish a support network with team members even if you do not see them in person every day.
How do you personally manage work-life balance?
For me, time management is key. I try to plan time for both my work and my personal activities. I also try to incorporate my personal life in my business life as much as possible (ex: bring my kids on a work trip and explore a new city with them). Because I love what I do, much of my personal life and my work life overlap.
Do you have a favorite quote or bit of business wisdom?
“Find something you love to do and you’ll never work a day in your life”
Where is the best or worst place you’ve worked remotely?
Places without a strong wifi connection can be difficult to work remotely from. Many countries overseas do not have the technology available that we do, which can sometimes be tricky. The best places I have worked remotely from are anywhere that I can put my feet up and enjoy some sunshine at the same time!