Top 10 Things to Consider when Telestaffing a CVO

Top 10 Things to Consider when Telestaffing a CVO

Mar 16, 2021
  • Author:
    Noelle Abarelli

In a recent interview with the BBC, Slack co-founder and CEO Stewart Butterfield said, “We all know that work will never be the same, even if we don’t yet know all the ways in which it will be different. What we can say with certainty is that the sudden shift to distributed work has provided a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reimagine everything about how we do our jobs and how we run our companies.”

From an employee perspective, people are making new choices about where and how they want to live. One study of 4,700 knowledge workers indicated that 72% are seeking hybrid remote-office model in the future.

Employers are also rethinking new ways to remove inefficient processes from the old way of working. Many options are being explored including reducing face to face meetings and offering more flexible work hours.

Either way you look at it, both the way we hire and manage people has changed. For those of us in the healthcare industry remote work is becoming more commonplace, which means telestaffing is occurring with more frequency. In this post we’ll dive into the basics of telestaffing and what you need to know to build a successful remote workforce.

First off, let’s start with the basics.

What is telestaffing?

Telestaffing is the hiring, training, and selecting of individuals for a specific job, along with the dissemination of responsibilities, conducted at a distance.

Telestaffing is becoming more common as more positions become remote. It’s great because it opens the door to a wider pool of talent. But in order to be successful with telestaffing and a remote workforce, you may need to change your traditional hiring, onboarding and management processes. What follows are our top 10 tips for success.

10. Rethink Orientation

With a traditional hiring model, when a new employee starts their position, there’s usually a designated orientation process that includes a lot of face-to-face time. With telestaffing, the orientation process needs to be changed to accommodate the remote aspect of the position, while still giving the new hire a sense of safety and support.

There are a variety of ways this can be done depending on your organization and its specific needs. A few questions to consider are:

  • Is this a permanent remote position? If so, do you start with some on-premise time and transition to remote over time, or do you start remote from day 1?
  • How can you best train new hires on your product or your processes?
  • How can you best introduce new hires to individuals within the health system or the CVO?

These answers will help you determine what works best for your particular CVO. One idea could be to set up a specific task or milestone for the new hire that must be completed on-premise, and once that’s done, transition the employee to remote working. This might be a training program that involves a full first week in the office or a hybrid approach of on-site and remote tasks. These are just a few ideas to consider! We have found that setting up milestones is a helpful way to motivate new hires, and to keep all team members accountable.

9. Set Up a Workspace

Everybody has a different set of needs when it comes to setting up their workspace; some people need a dedicated room where they can shut doors to avoid distraction, and others thrive working from the couch with the music on. That’s not something you likely need to consider, but you will have to think about equipment. What will your organization provide, and what will your employee be responsible for?

Some questions to ask include:

  • What equipment will be provided: laptop or a computer, a monitor, a camera for video conferencing, etc.?
  • Today all employees need an internet connection and probably already have one, but will there be a need for them to upgrade to high-speed service and will your company cover the cost?
  • Will employees be required to have a landline, or will using their own cell phone be acceptable? And if they are using their own phones, who’s responsible for paying the bill?
  • How will remote employees get IT assistance if something goes wrong?
  • If a work-provided computer isn’t working, will it be acceptable for an employee to use their personal machine until the issue is resolved?

Answering these questions will ensure that you’re prepared for all possible challenges that may arise while working remotely. And don’t forget that credentialing involves working with sensitive information that must sometimes remain confidential, so embracing a solution that will facilitate that, like setting up a company VPN, or working with a centralized credentialing system may be a step in the right direction.

8. Set Expectations

Setting appropriate expectations goes a long way in ensuring your team’s success, and they need to be set with regard to a variety of considerations:

  • Work hours: are remote employees required to work a traditional day—9a-5p, with a lunch break and two short breaks? Or will the expectation be that as long as they work 8 hours in a day and get their work done, that’s acceptable?
  • Availability: How will you communicate with remote employees—instant messaging, phone calls, etc.? Should “office hours” be set up for communication, so that other hours are dedicated to completing day-to-day tasks? Is there a set time frame in which employees are expected to respond?

7. Manage Productivity

This goes hand in hand with setting expectations. Having the ability to monitor and manage productivity is vital when it comes to working remotely. It may be that some of the processes you have in place for on-premise work apply here. The end goal is to have a method for tracking the volume of work completed.

A typical CVO will have set turnaround times for certain tasks, so that’s one way to track productivity, whether it be on initial applications or reappointments. With set turnaround times established, employees and their managers are able to work toward a common goal, simplifying the task of ensuring work is getting done.

6. Establish a Paper Plan

As much as we like to say our industry is paperless, we can all agree that we’re closer to “paper light”! Because of this, setting up clear guidelines on what must be done with actual paper and how this paperwork should be handled by remote workers is critical. They may need scanning or faxing capabilities and the ability to shred confidential documents. All of these factors need to be decided and included in the policies you put in place.

5. Determine Your Policy

Though there are so many factors to take into consideration when setting up your teleworking policy, there are certain aspects we consider to be essential:

  • Eligibility: Who is eligible to work remotely.
  • Approval Process: What is necessary to be considered for remote work, and who approves/decides.
  • Trial Period: If part of the approval process requires a trial period, how long will that period last before approval is granted?
  • Work Schedules: Determine a set schedule so that both the remote worker and those in-office are in the know.
  • Reviews and Evaluations: Determine how often evaluations will occur and where they will occur.
  • IT and Security: Determine IT requirements and document them to keep sensitive data safe.
  • Confidentiality: Have set rules about how confidential documents are managed and ensure remote workers have the necessary equipment to keep information safe.
  • When is on-site required?: Have a set schedule for when remote staff should be on-premise, if at all.
  • Coverage for Absences: Planning is almost always the answer. It may be wise to set up a buddy system for coverage that will eliminate the need to scramble at the last minute.

4. Keep Open Lines of Communication

Working remotely may make employees feel isolated and out of the loop, so we believe it’s important to work on ways to communicate and connect with your remote employees. You want to make sure they feel a part of the team and connected to the CVO and health system.

We recommend setting up regularly scheduled meetings, either in-person or over video chat, so there can be a “face-to-face” interaction. It’s also valuable to make sure part of these meetings are social, taking a few minutes at the start to check in on a person's day, ask about their pet, or share something special. Another option might be quarterly get-togethers.

3. Be Flexible to Meet Productivity Goals

Some people may feel they are more productive working remotely because they are not interrupted by co-workers stopping by their desks with questions. Others may find they work better at the office because they’re not tempted to get laundry done while they’re at home. Of course, monitoring productivity will play a huge role in determining what works for each employee. If you notice productivity diminishing, check in and consider change.

2. Consider the Cost

This is a big one: does it cost more or less to have a remote employee? From the employee standpoint, it likely saves them money. They’ll spend less on transportation costs, travel time, clothing, etc. In many ways, the cost savings an employee can realize as a teleworker can certainly be considered a benefit.

From the organization’s standpoint, there are cost benefits too. The main one being office space, which as we all know comes at a premium. Think about it: the average employee requires around 150 sf of personal space within an office, and that can add up, especially if your organization is large and employs more than 100 people. Having employees at home frees up space for more conference rooms, or allows an organization to move to a smaller space saving.

1. Don't Forget About Satisfaction

The most important consideration is to ensure all parties involved are satisfied: the employee, the organization, and your providers. Running a CVO is hard enough on its own, so making sure the system you set in place works for all departments and teams is essential to your success.