Remote operations yield mixed results in Brazil

Operating from home is manageable for existing staff, but recruitment processes are being delayed as companies don't know how to handle remote onboarding.

As Brazilian companies adapt to new ways of working due to the COVID-19 pandemic, staff are managing to do their jobs remotely, but other areas of people management are being impacted as companies don't know how to handle certain processes away from the office.

A significant number of Brazilian medium and large-sized organizations had to improvise as employers shut offices down to slow the spread of coronavirus. Some 41% of 240 respondents polled by recruitment consultancy Robert Half said employers rushed to put policies together in the last minute to respond to quarantine measures introduced in states across the country between March 18 and 19.

This follows a period of uncertainty in the previous week when Brazilian organizations, particularly those unused to having staff working away from the office, were slowly catching up with the need for social distancing and resisted against adopting mass remote working policies.

However, of the organizations polled by Robert Half, 58% reported they had remote working policies in place. Since the shutdown of offices last week, 39% said they are not having any technical issues working from home, according to the survey.

The workers that reported having such problems cited difficulties around team communication (7%), connectivity (5%) and lack of proper equipment (3%). Other issues around working from home included having family around (19%) and distractions (16%).

Regarding the upsides, respondents cited benefits such as time saved by not having to commute (53%), as well as the possibility of working without interruptions (17%) and flexible working hours (13%).

Recruitment slowdown

While remote working seems to be manageable for most Brazilians who are able to do so, recruitment processes have been disrupted. According to a survey carried out by Brazilian startup Revelo with 14 thousand companies that use the company's recruitment and selection platform, there was a 12% decrease in the volume of interviews scheduled by companies. In addition, the startup has heard from clients there has been a halt in selection processes.

As well as the overall uncertainty sparked by the crisis, the study noted that many Brazilian companies don't know how to handle certain processes from a distance. According to the Revelo research, companies fear that with the adoption of remote working, onboarding activities may be impaired.

The startup estimates that, in the coming weeks, there will be a hiring surge of up to 15% in Brazil, mainly in functions related to operations and technology, and particularly in digitally native companies, where working from home is a common practice.