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Embracing the Remote Worker

By Michael Klazema on 6/12/2019
Is remote work the future? It could be, for a long list of reasons ranging from job seeker expectations to real estate costs.

The rise of the gig economy has changed the way people think about work, and that shift is bleeding over into traditional careers. A low unemployment rate has created a job seeker’s market in which employees and job candidates have more power to ask for the benefits and job perks that they want. Flexibility and work-life balance are top priorities for many job seekers, and so is the freedom to work remotely—occasionally or all the time.

Employers can benefit from embracing the remote worker, and not just because the offer makes their business more attractive to potential hires. More remote workers mean less need for expensive office space, giving companies a big chance to slash their overheads. There are even environmental benefits based on the commuting obligation that remote work can eliminate.

Integrating remote work into a business is about more than approving requests from employees who want to work from home once or twice per week. Embracing the occasional remote worker also means embracing the worker who only works remotely. It often means hiring people who you may never actually meet in person or accepting that some of your most valued staff may live on the opposite side of the world.

In vetting your employees, background checks matter just as much for remote workers as for on-site employees. You just need to figure out how to conduct them.

What do you do if you are hiring a remote worker who lives in another country? Questions such as this one are worthy of discussion with your legal team and your background check company. Even domestically, you will need to vet your employees where they are rather than where your business operates. Address history checks can help with this priority.

Always consider background check laws and regulations. You will need to comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act, a federal law that no background check policy can overlook. If you are hiring remote workers outside of your immediate geographic radius, you will also need to be cognizant of local and state laws. For example, ban the box laws vary across the country. Depending on where your remote worker is based, you may not be legally allowed to ask that person about criminal history on a job application. You might also need to delay your background check until later in the pre-employment process under that region’s laws.

The same idea applies to other hiring-related laws and ordinances that vary across the country. Depending on where you are hiring, you may not be allowed to conduct credit history checks or use arrest information in your hiring decisions.

At backgroundchecks.com, we offer a variety of background check services to support the needs of businesses operating with an on-site team, with some remote integration, or with a primarily remote workforce—including options for vetting temporary workers and gig economy recruits. If you need to develop a logical, compliant background check strategy for your workforce, we can help. Contact us today to get started.

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