For human resources (HR) professionals working in highly regulated industries (think mortgage, government, financial advisement, securities, etc.), conducting remote office inspections for remote employees is par for the course, especially post-pandemic. However, as more companies embrace work-from-home (WFH), HR professionals should consider making remote office inspection part of the hiring process. Here’s why:
As noted above, many industries require companies to inspect employees’ home offices. Recognizing that in-person inspections may not always be feasible or even preferable post-pandemic, regulators have added provisions to allow for remote inspection of home offices. For remote candidates seeking employment in these industries, this practice will become the norm should they be hired. Thus, conducting a remote office inspection during the hiring process helps set this expectation for the future.
Narrows candidate field
All things being equal on a resume, HR professionals often must establish additional criteria unrelated to job qualifications to determine the best fit for a particular position. Incorporating a remote office inspection as part of the hiring process can give HR professionals deeper insights into a potential candidate’s suitability, especially for a remote role.
As many companies have learned the hard way, remote work poses significant challenges, thus requiring them to adopt a “trust but verify” attitude regarding employees’ remote office setups. Verifying on the front end that a candidate’s home office meets both regulatory and corporate requirements helps companies mitigate many of the risks posed by WFH right out of the gate.
Of course, compliance with federal and state labor laws is always top of mind for HR professionals when making any hiring process changes. In 2000, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued guidance related to home offices that still stands today. In short, OSHA neither requires nor prohibits employers from inspecting employees’ home offices.
Furthermore, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) guidelines on prohibited employment policies/practices deal mainly with discrimination based on protected classifications (age, sex, race, etc.). Regarding pre-employment inquiries specifically, the EEOC cautions employers to limit these inquiries to information “essential for determining if a person is qualified for the job.” Thus, it stands to reason that remote office inspections would be permitted under federal guidelines as part of the hiring process.
However, HR professionals must also be aware of potential inadvertent discrimination in any hiring practice. By utilizing a remote office inspection software platform, HR professionals can create a standardized inspection process that can be applied consistently across all candidates and employees to ensure fair and equitable treatment.
Ready to add remote office inspections to your hiring process? Learn how ActiveComply’s remote office inspection software can empower your team to audit employee and candidate workspaces anytime, anywhere while delivering cost savings to all parts of your business.
Of all the changes wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic, remote work has become the stickiest.
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