Why Remote-First Companies Should Hire a Head of Remote

Remote work leaders are more important than ever. But, what does a Head of Remote do?

In a world where work is no longer confined to a physical office or time zone, and where the boundaries between work and life blur, a new champion emerges: the Head of Remote. But, what does a Head of Remote do?

Remote work leaders are more important than ever. The best remote teams don't need extensive remote experience; they have a Head of Remote.

We asked our Remote Officer, Madison, to write an overview of her day-to-day work. Let's dive into what this role is, and why having one is your ticket to unlocking the full potential of your remote operations & team.

Who is the Head of Remote?

The Head of Remote is not a title that existed a few short years ago. However, many remote work leadership roles are emerging. This is the most essential of all. 

Modern Remote Leadership

It's a role born out of the need to champion the best interests of employees working remotely, to bridge the gap between physical and virtual workplaces, and to make sure that remote work is not just accommodation but a thriving culture within an organization. Modern remote leadership requires a Head of Remote.

While similar to a Chief People Officer, they are focused on their company's remote fluency. They are part strategist, part communicator, part advocate, and wholly passionate about remote work, remote strategy, remote working, remote operations, and remote workers. 

They are equipped with strong leadership skills and have extensive experience in the hybrid and distributed work model. They are primarily responsible for building and managing your remote work program.

What Does a Head of Remote Do?

Now that we've met our protagonist, let's delve into the core responsibilities and roles that make a Head of Remote an indispensable asset to any organization venturing into remote work and managing remote operations. And yes, this is a fully remote position! If you were wondering, that's part of the remote job description. 

1. Craft Remote Work Policies

This is a big piece of their job description. A Head of Remote plays a central role in crafting and refining remote work policies that are not just fair but also inspiring. These policies should foster a sense of autonomy, trust, and accountability among remote team members. They work closely with the leadership team to do this.  

These policies can also help newly remote managers lead better and newly remote workers adjust to their remote jobs. Furthermore, these policies make it easier for new remote hires to assimilate to your company's culture, and adjust to behavioral and cultural shifts in remote work. They are central to remote operations. 

2. Advocate for Remote Workers

One of the critical functions of the Head of Remote is to be the voice of remote employees within the organization. They represent the unique needs, challenges, and aspirations of their remote team members. This includes a well-defined career path to attract and keep your best workers

This ensures that distributed teams have a good employee experience. This is an important part of remote operations.

3. Resource Allocation for Remote Workers

A Head of Remote ensures your remote workforce can access the same resources, tools, and opportunities as their in-office counterparts. This includes the hiring process, onboarding, training, knowledge management, learning and development programs, accessibility accommodations, and career advancement. All of which are vital to the employee experience.

They can also help to improve existing tools or add new tools that would improve remote learning and how employees work remotely. This helps companies nurture strong remote leaders and workers with the necessary remote infrastructure and continuous remote learning. 

4. Remote Culture Ambassador

The Head of Remote fosters a remote work culture that mirrors the organization's values and goals using their leadership skills. They are the keepers of the company's remote culture, ensuring it thrives and evolves. They usually also come with extensive remote work experience. The Head of Remote is passionate about remote work and shows their team the positives of working remotely. 

Here are some other ways the Head of Remote encourages a positive culture among distributed teams who work remotely:

Celebrating Achievements

They highlight and celebrate the successes and contributions of remote team members. Recognition programs and virtual celebrations are part of their toolkit. This nurtures company culture. 

Team Building 

Remote work should never equate to isolation. The Head of Remote organizes virtual team-building activities, creating a sense of camaraderie among remote employees. They help keep remote employees engaged and motivated. 

5. Choose the Right Tools for Remote Workers

Another vital part of remote strategy and operations is choosing the right software and tools to enable efficient and smooth remote work processes. A Head of Remote can select and implement communication and collaboration tools that suit the organization's remote work needs. This includes video conferencing, project management, and chat platforms.

Setting Communication Norms 

A Head of Remote defines clear communication norms, emphasizing the importance of timely responses, respectful interactions, and transparent exchanges. This may include a ‘How to Work with Me’ Manual

They also establish seamless communication channels that allow a remote worker to voice their concerns, provide feedback, and feel connected to the organization's decision-making processes and remote operations. They set the foundation for company culture.

6. Problem Solve for Remote Operations

A remote role may sound appealing, but they aren't without their challenges. Fear not, the Head of Remote is equipped with problem-solving superpowers. They identify issues, propose solutions, and ensure that remote teams continue to thrive.

Addressing Isolation 

A Head of Remote actively works to combat feelings of isolation that can creep into remote work. This might involve organizing virtual coffee chats, mentorship programs, or wellness initiatives. While this is not necessarily in their job description, this is essential to the well-being of your remote worker and the entire workforce. 

Why Having a Head of Remote is Essential for Hybrid and Remote-First Companies

Now that we've uncovered the multi-faceted role of the Head of Remote, it's time to address the critical question: Why should an organization invest in this remote role?

A Head of Remote...

1. Promotes a Thriving Remote Culture

Remote work isn't just about adapting policies; it's about cultivating a culture that thrives in the virtual realm. The Head of Remote is a cultural guardian, responsible for fostering a sense of belonging, recognition, and camaraderie among remote employees. They put remote first. 

2. Navigates Complex Challenges

Remote work introduces unique challenges, from communication hurdles to feelings of isolation. The Head of Remote has the expertise to identify these challenges and navigate them effectively, ensuring that distributed teams remain productive and engaged.

3. Drives Continuous Improvement

In the dynamic landscape of remote work, a static approach won't suffice. The Head of Remote is committed to driving continuous improvement. They adapt policies, processes, and technologies to stay aligned with the evolving needs of remote teams and the organization.

4. Demonstrates Organizational Commitment

Having a Head of Remote sends a powerful message to your employees: your organization is not just dabbling in remote work; it's committed to its success. This commitment fosters trust among remote team members and strengthens their loyalty to the organization.

Add a Head of Remote to Your Organization's Leadership Team

As business leaders embark on their remote work journeys, remember that remote work is not just a logistical shift; it's a cultural transformation. The Head of Remote is your guide, advocate, and champion in this transformative journey. 

Hiring a Head of Remote with extensive experience would be a major step forward - essential to building a successful business that meets the cultural shifts required. They are the architects of your remote work strategy, the voice of your remote employees, the keepers of your remote culture, and the champions of effective communication. They navigate the complex challenges of remote work and drive continuous improvement. 

In short, they are the maestros of your remote orchestra, ensuring that every remote team member plays in harmony, no matter where they are in the world.

So, as you embrace the remote work revolution, consider the essential role of the Head of Remote. They are not just a luxury but a necessity in this new era of remote work. With their leadership, your organization can not only adapt to remote work but thrive in it, setting new standards for excellence in the global workforce.

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