Discuss workforce management, performance management, retention, communication, motivation, contributing to business results and other topics.
I manage HR set-up for a IT Consulting company. Most of our employees are "virtual " . Well they are located at client sites and identify themseleves mostly with those clients. They come rarely to the
posted at 10/6/1999 9:54 PM EDT
posted at 10/7/1999 7:44 PM EDT
I sometimes wonder who invented the "virtual", "work from home" concept - it really presents a host of challenges and I'm not certain the benefits (to the company) are worth it - other than reduced real estate costs! I'm hoping it WASN'T an HR person!! O.K, now that I've offered an opinion you didn't want. . .
Since your virtuals probably have company equipment, you'll want to have checklists as to what is issued to them and policies re: the return of same at departure. Whether or not you can withhold final pay if they don't return things probably is a state employment law issue.
You'll also want to make clear what lines into their homes the company will pay for, i.e., maybe installation and basic monthly or whatever - up front. We do it in our offer letter.
Speaking of state laws, if your virtuals are in different states, you'll need to assure that all your policies and procedures reflect any "quirks" in various state laws. The two states out of the 4 we are involved with that seem to have the most "exceptions" are California and Pennsylvania. You'll either have to become aware of the eccentricities of those states yourself, or, if you're lucky enough, run issues by your labor attorney. We don't have the luxury of an attorney, so I try to make sure we do things correctly.
From an accounting standpoint, even if your virtuals are on your payroll, there are state by state issues. For example, using PA again, they have city, local, state taxes and different reporting requirements. If you are in NY, you are more familiar with all those taxes; we're in GA and it's much simpler here!
For health benefits, you'll need to make sure that the coverage you get for your local employees also is good for your out of state ones. We have had some difficulty in finding a carrier at a good rate that offers the same network of doctors (not the same doctors, the same network). We could actually have less expensive insurance, but can't because we don't want to have a couple of carriers to accommodate our virtuals.
Managing virtuals is another "virtual" difficulty. The manager needs to travel more in order to assure the employee is on track. Employees can't be managed over the phone. The manager should be willing to put in (and have the time in his/her job) the travel time. Managing virtuals, especially out of state, is challening.
That's about all I can think of right now - as I said in the beginning - whoever thought of this concept didn't really look at all the ramifications on a business. If you can work your virtuals so that they either 1) aren't virtual and/or 2) within your hdqtrs state, it will be best!
My e-mail is: firstname.lastname@example.org in case you'd like to chat about this.