Employer Perspective: Remote Workers

Tasha Patterson@Work

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Remote Workers: Out of Sight, But Not Out of Mind

By Frederick Burger, VP Benefits and Retirement Administration, Temple Health; Allyson Saccomandi; Vice President, Leadership and Organizational Development, Temple Health; Vjera Silbert, Vice President, HR Compliance and Employee Relations, Temple Health

Like many healthcare organizations, Temple Health did not have an established tradition of remote work at the onset of the pandemic. It was the exception rather than the norm. In fact, in January 2020, less than 1% of Temple Health’s 10,700 employees worked remotely on a regular basis. That paradigm shifted overnight when, within two weeks, nearly 800 non-patient-facing staff from legal, technical, administrative, information technology, and human resources departments (7.5% of the workforce), was required to work remotely. That transition entailed tasks ranging from enhancing network accessibility and security to accommodate remote workers to ensuring employees had the necessary computer and telecommunication hardware and software to perform their jobs, the wherewithal to use the tools, and the ability to track productivity. By most accounts, workers embraced their “new normal,” mastering remote collaboration platforms (such as Zoom, WebEx, and Microsoft Teams) and taking occasional disruptions from unruly pets and children in stride.

Finding Solutions

Some employees experienced technological challenges, such as network connectivity issues and finding reliable Wi-Fi, while others had concerns about collaboration and teamwork, and struggled to achieve work-life balance. A few managers experienced issues related to tracing workers’ productivity and concerns about onboarding new team members. Our goal was to ensure employees felt as supported and comfortable working remotely as they did when physically in the office and to provide managers with the skills to manage remote teams to achieve results.

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