November 17, 2020

Head of Remote Work: A New Role for a New Workforce

Part HR manager. Part director. Part technologist.

The “Head of Remote Work” job spec is still being fleshed out company by company, with few organizations following the same parameters or descriptions. The existence of such a role is clear. There’s been a massive shift to a remote workforce that will likely endure and accelerate over time.

So what exactly does a Head of Remote Work do, and would your organization benefit from one?

What is a Head of Remote Work?

A Head of Remote Work is a new director or executive-level occupation that arose in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Head of Remote Work is tasked with leading the organizational transition to a remote workforce in a strategic, methodical way, with an eye toward maintaining existing company culture and onboarding new talent in a work-from-home environment.

Facebook was one of the first companies to announce the development and appointment of a Head of Remote Work after it announced it would formally allow all of its employees to work from home until at least July 2021. Other global entities like Twitter and Quora quickly followed suit.

As LinkedIn noted, the Head of Remote Work is tasked with a number of institutional functions, some of which will be brand new to companies adopting WFH policies while others require organizational change on a massive scale. Some of the most prominent job functions include:

  • Working laterally and collaboratively with individual teams, departments and committees to document goals, milestones and plans of action
  • Ensuring remote employees, as well as hybrid-remote workers, have proper access to company tools, platforms and equipment
  • Outfitting remote workers with workspaces conducive to their home environments
  • Instituting virtual company culture and engagement policies
  • Establishing parameters, channels and methodologies for manager-staff communication and performance-tracking
  • Developing talent acquisition and onboarding professional development protocols for current and future staff

With this definition in mind, let’s look at how a Head of Remote Work aligns their occupational duties with the fundamental goals of the organization, such as productivity, growth, retention and innovation.

Emerging technologies for a remote workforce

As businesses mature beyond the “What are we going to do?” phase of the remote work transition, they’ll need to develop a playbook for how to operate in a distributed environment. In essence, short-term contingency planning must evolve into long-term organizational strategy.

That means existing types of technology must be magnified or new forms must be procured and scaled — quickly.

A remote workforce lives and breathes, predominantly, with the following software:

Communication

Chat, messaging and email tools are key, along with any native, proprietary platforms your company may use.

Collaboration

Beyond brief messages, full-scale collaboration, teamwork and project management on core tasks are also a must-have. Solutions like Slack, Teams or Basecamp are commonly adopted.

Conferencing 

Virtual meetings conducted over Zoom, Google Meet, UberConference or Cisco Webex, for instance, allow for digital facetime, stronger interpersonal ties and a little touch of humanity.

Team management

Additional tools that might fit under an umbrella term of “human capital management” are also incredibly useful for maintaining team cohesion, manager-staff rapport and productivity benchmarking. Virtual team management software is a growing industry, and newer platforms seek to embed elements of gamification, team building and icebreaker activities into traditional meetings (as well as virtual happy hours, coffee breaks and team lunches).

File sharing/storage

Greater distribution of company equipment and employees means an increased need for superior document management solutions like Dropbox, Google Drive and SharePoint.

Each of these technological solutions is accompanied by both satisfaction and risk. Team collaboration could rise, but customer data could be less secure. At-home employee perks might be highly thoughtful, but workers’ inherent isolation might prove troublesome.

It’s the job of the Head of Remote Work to ensure your company’s remote work technology empowers workers and enhances customer experience. A tall order, right?

Integrating virtual tools with your existing sales tech stack

As the Head of Remote Work rolls out new WFH policies, the sales wing of your company must also shift entirely from virtual-sometimes to virtual-only sales environment.

Their job responsibilities, quotas and sales techniques must migrate in parallel with an evolving company tech stack. Plus, existing sales, marketing and customer-support software must also integrate with the new tech the Head of Remote Work deploys.

Luckily, many sales functions are perfectly adaptable to a virtual environment. The addition of a high-powered sales enablement platform can also sit at the nexus of all of these tools.

The benefits of a sales enablement platform, especially to a remote salesperson, are enormous, with core functionality driving end-to-end efficiency for sales reps and prospects alike. Consider the following features that support the modern sales agent:

  • Sales content management: Sellers can manage content outflows with ease, ensuring they’re distributing the right content at the right time — and personalizing it for each buyer.
  • Analytical recommendations: Artificial intelligence, user analytics and performance metrics combine to generate seller suggestions, so there’s less guesswork and more strategy.
  • Workflow and systems integrations: Any tool is only as good as its integrations. CMS, CRM, email and sales automation platforms should work in tandem, enabling sales reps to adhere to seamless workflows.
  • Continuous sales coaching and training: Converting average sellers to top performers is made simple when they’re supported at every step in their onboarding, training and professional development with conversation intelligence tools. These features provide automated, on-the-job training and records sales interactions so sellers can focus on closing deals — not manual data entry.

As remote work permeates your organization — potentially for the long run — seller engagement is critical to maintaining and even advancing sales effectiveness. To see how Showpad can help facilitate your company’s sales efficiency in a remote work environment, reach out today.