Remote Work in the Staffing World: Opportunities and Challenges

While life has mostly returned to normal since COVID, working remotely seems to be sticking around. This applies to many temporary staffing positions, as well. It may depend on the profession, but some employers require employees to come into the office a few days a week. Others are requiring employees to return entirely. But it’s becoming more and more common to work remotely, or have a hybrid arrangement. What does this mean for staffing firms and the employees they place?

Many employees want the option to work remotely all or some days a week. It’s one way to attract top talent for clients, provided it is a position that lends itself to working from home. One benefit for clients is it allows them hire talent from anywhere in the country and the world. It also saves on overhead costs such as office space. Employers may start looking for staffing firms that specialize in remote work. This firm would provide employees that are willing to work from home, possess specific technical skills, the ability to communicate effectively, and work collaboratively (soft-skills). 1

Staffing firms should advertise this benefit as a way attract clients, and diversify their staffing niche to include remote offerings. Staffing firms that provide administrative positions are most likely to attract remote talent. Many job descriptions emphasize remote or provide it as an option. Medical billing, data entry, customer service representatives, event planners, and bloggers are just a few of the jobs that can be done remotely. Even project management positions can be done from home.

Firms that studied health care data from the pandemic didn’t find an increase in workers’ comp claims from remote workers. But post-pandemic, as more employees can and choose to work from home, staffing firms should prepare for the possibility of more claims for remote work-related injuries. The risks are not as high, but an employee’s home is now a work environment. The most common injuries include repetitive stress, neck and back pain from sitting all day, and even slips and falls.

It’s difficult for staffing firms and the client employers to police employees at home, so proving or disproving an injury is legally challenging. A slip and fall—perhaps on a child’s toy—while getting coffee can be a compensable claim. Here are a couple of tips for employers to address some of the risk:

  1. Provide some sort of safety training for remote employees. Tips on how they can make their homes safe and accommodating workplaces will benefit both employee and employer. It’s certainly no guarantee that there won’t be accidents, and because there is no way to prove negligence on the part of the employee, a claim may still be filed.
  2. Consult attorneys to find out how to deal with remote work injuries. If a workers’ comp claim is filed find out what standard of proof is needed and on what grounds you can challenge it.

It’s also a good idea for staffing firms to check their workers’ comp coverage in light of any changes to their offerings. A good workers’ comp broker can assist with that.

  1. The Future of Staffing in a Hybrid World, Gleb Tsipursky, Forbes, March 12, 2023