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On-Boarding Employees During COVID-19: ICE Relaxes Requirements

March 31st, 2020

While hundreds of thousands of people have faced layoffs over the past several weeks, hiring remains critical in areas such as healthcare (including telehealth), technology, and CPG. Many technology companies that support work-from-home efforts are seeing platform usage rise.  Microsoft Teams has seen a 775% increase in usage in areas that are largely affected by the virus.

These hiring shifts present unique circumstances for managers and recruiters alike, as they attempt to on-board new staff while also meeting I-9 and E-Verify guidelines. The Department of Homeland Security has announced that they will temporarily be flexible regarding the I-9 guidelines for as long as the national emergency surrounding COVID-19 exists or 60 days from March 20th, 2020 (whichever comes first).

For employers and recruiters who are following COVID-19 guidelines, particularly in regard to limiting physical proximity – ICE is allowing new employee identity and employment authorization documents to initially be reviewed without a physical presence.  Documents should still be reviewed remotely.

The full press release explains the steps that employers should take to virtually and then physically examine the documents once normal operations resume. Please read the official Department of Homeland Security press release here for specific employer requirements.

This temporary flexibility for on-boarding only applies to employers and workplaces who are currently operating remotely and have no employees physically present and able to inspect I-9 documentation.

This declaration by DHS is an important part of helping the wider community fill their business needs, without burdening employers and recruiters with the physical presence requirements.

During this time, Talener is prepared for virtual on-boarding and is working closely with candidates and clients to help them understand this temporary on-boarding change.

If you have any questions about on-boarding new employees during this time, please reach out to your Talener representative. Talener is proud to support our candidates and clients during this time.

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Posted in Talener Blog, Uncategorized

Conference Calls, Couches & Keeping My Sanity: I Hate Working From Home

March 17th, 2020

Woman with brown shoulder-length hair holding her hands to her face as she works from home in front of a computer
Shot of a young woman looking stressed while using a laptop to work from home

There is an allure to working from home if you are an on-site employee.  Just once a week, it would be nice to skip the commute, work from bed, and play music while you type away.  If you regularly work from home, then you likely have a schedule, a set-up, and have chosen this type of work lifestyle.  You’re prepared and your daily life likely hasn’t changed too much. 

But for many, navigating the work-from-home model during the COVID-19 outbreak means a drastic adjustment to everyday life.  There are plenty of great tips and tricks to making your space work-friendly and keeping yourself focused.  But what happens when you hate working from home? What happens when you thrive on your office environment for conversation, motivation, and energy?

Particularly in this critical moment, work-from-home doesn’t mean work-from-anywhere — libraries, cafes, and public spaces are closed in many states and people are being strongly encouraged to isolate themselves.

As inherently social creatures (even introverts!), forced isolation can be tough. Spending a weekend binging your favorite show and never leaving your home is a choice. But somehow, when it’s forced, it’s no longer enjoyable.

So how do you get through the dread of working from home while everyone else is celebrating in their pajamas?

Take a Break

Sometimes lack of motivation is tough for newly minted work-from-home employees. But sometimes the opposite is true.  Overworking yourself to make the day go by faster — without taking your normal breaks can burn you out.  It’s far easier to leave a physical office at the end of the day and mentally shut down.

Being motivated and productive is great, but if you are going to be in a forced work-from-home environment for the foreseeable future, then scheduling breaks and a firm end-of-workday time, are critical.

Take a walk, bake, call your friends, check in on your parents, or catch up on your favorite drama.  Take a few moments to stop working and bring some normalcy back into your life.

Encourage Communication

It’s so easy to ask a question and collaborate when you’re in a shared office space.  “Have a minute? Can I run something by you?” – it seems trivial until you have to try to schedule a time to meet or need an answer ASAP.

If you have a team, or a close group of co-workers with whom you have regular contact, schedule a few five or ten-minute sessions every day to video conference with them. These are the people who make your in-office experience great.  It’s easy to chat via instant messaging, but socialization and communication needs aren’t always met this way.  Maybe it’s a laugh or a quick catch up to get you re-energized before the next big project.

Change it Up

Chances are, if your company has allowed (or mandated) work-from-home, then you have some flexibility in your schedule.  If you are in a position where you only need to be physically present during core hours or mandatory meetings, talk to your manager about working when you are most productive. Try to align your schedule with your natural cycle of productivity. Take advantage of your night-owl or early-bird tendencies.  You may find larger chunks of time during the day that you can focus on yourself, your family, or your home.

At the end of the day, for many, this mandated work-from-home model is short-term. For the weeks ahead, we can adjust, adapt and know that we are doing this for the greater good and to stop the spread of Coronavirus.  But it’s important to acknowledge that working from home is not for everyone. It isn’t always as simple as eating breakfast in bed, in your pajamas, and going about your day as if nothing has changed. 


Talener is committed to the safety and health of its employees, clients and candidates. All Talener offices are currently working from a work-from-home model. It is important that we are able to have a happy and healthy team who can continue to help candidates find jobs and help clients fulfill business needs during this unprecedented time. We thank you for all of your patience and for adapting your practices as we all navigate these changes.

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Posted in Talener Blog

Interviewing During the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Outbreak

March 6th, 2020

Planning for modified hiring processes, handshakes, and video conferences

Businesses and people across the country are preparing for a potential pandemic of COVID-19, the Novel Coronavirus.  But today, like any other day, millions of people woke up, got themselves ready, and made the commute to work. For the vast majority of employees who don’t work 100% remotely, physically coming into work is a reality, pandemic or not.

Employers are making business continuity plans, and major companies like Twitter and Ford are banning all non-essential travel.  Google and Facebook both canceled their developer conferences in the wake of the outbreak. Some have even restricted their own employees from offices until they complete a mandatory quarantine after traveling to high-risk areas for business or pleasure. 

But businesses must continue to operate. And part of operating means hiring new employees as business needs arise.  The use of phone interviews or video calls is widespread for early stages of the hiring process, but most companies require an in-person meeting at least once before extending an offer.

If you are working with a staffing agency like Talener, your representative is your advocate – especially if you have concerns or questions regarding on-site interviews. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and get answers prior to going on-site. If companies have enacted work-from-home policies, ask how it affects your ability to interview as well as your potential start with the organization.

If you are working on your own, most hiring managers or HR will appreciate the heads up about any concerns you may have.

Travel

If you have traveled to a high-risk area recently, please be courteous to your interviewers and give them a heads up to confirm if they would like to re-schedule, conduct a video conference, or have you come into the office.  

Likewise, if you know that the company at which you are applying has international offices in high-risk areas and employees who travel frequently, you should ask the hiring manager or your staffing representative if they are taking any precautions with their own staff.

Sickness

Experiencing sever cold or flu-like symptoms before your interview?  It is in your best interest and the interviewers to give them as much notice as possible if you are feeling under the weather.  While canceling an interview is never ideal, providing as much notice as you can is always the right decision. 

This is particularly true if you have traveled to risk-areas or if you live in a densely populated area where you are in constant contact with people at shops, restaurants, or on public transportation.

Shaking Hands

It is OK to let your interviewer know that you are trying to follow universal precautions during the outbreak. If you’ve been on public transportation, take this approach, “I was just on the subway, could you point me to the restroom to wash my hands before we get started?”

If you are uncomfortable skipping the handshake, keep hand sanitizer with you or ask to use the restroom to wash your hands before you begin your interview.

Continuity Plans

Many companies have business continuity and disaster plans in place, particularly in densely populated areas or if they have employees that travel regularly.  During the interview, ask about work-from-home policies, policies on personal and work-sponsored travel, and expectations.

During this time, your Talener representatives are in constant contact with clients. They are learning about continuity plans as they emerge as well as making alternative arrangements if in-person interviews are not a viable option. If you have questions about a company with whom you are interviewing, use Talener as a resource.

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For more information about the Novel Coronvirus (COVID-19), the WHO, CDC, and National Institute of Health provide universal precautionary measures as well as information about the spread of the virus.

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Posted in FAQ, Talener Blog

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