The outbreak of the pandemic has transformed life for workers and businesses across the world, and the topics of remote teams and effective HR management have never been more important. As working from home becomes the new normal, ProfileTree CEO Ciaran Connolly sits down with Crystel Robbins Rynne, Head of Product and Marketing at HRLocker to discuss how businesses can adapt to this strange new world. Watch the full video in our video above and don’t forget to like, subscribe and share!

As we kick off discussion, Crystel takes us on a brief walkthrough of her own business journey, and how she entered the highly specialised field of human resources. Before she shares this with us, she highlights the location of HRLocker – one that is truly unconventional for a modern tech company. HRLocker is based in the picturesque town of Lahinch on the northwest coast of Co. Clare. One of the most beautiful locations on the island, Crystel highlights that the choice of location was purely based on the lifestyle it allowed, as opposed to its suitability for a software company. A wise choice? We think so!

Remote from Day One

With the company from its earliest days 13 years ago, Crystel has watched HRLocker grow from the ground up, working her way up the business to her current position as Head of Product and Marketing. She outlines that from day one, HRLocker has been a remote working company, with 18 members of staff working within the company and a network of freelancers throughout the island of Ireland. Her present role at HRLocker involves bridging the gap between development and marketing teams, “trying to make sure that they are speaking the same language”, she explains.

We already know they have an awesome location. But what does HRLocker actually do? Crystel describes the product as a Cloud-based people management & HR platform, specifically targeted towards tech companies, professional services, construction firms and non-for-profit and charitable organisations. The product was borne out of the company’s understanding that in many cases, small and medium sized businesses could rarely afford to purchase effective HR software. After years of development and continued growth, HRLocker now serves as an affordable product that fully automates the people management process, including timesheets, holidays, absences, training sessions and more.

Remote working is one of the core areas of strengths for HRLocker. Crystel highlights that this has certainly been the case over recent weeks, with workplaces around the world thrown into remote working patterns at short notice. “We’ve always worked under these patterns, and over the past number of weeks we have been able to quickly show them how to adapt their HR processes to work with remote teams.”

For HR Professionals, Built by HR Professionals

Ultimately, HRLocker is HR software that has been built by HR professionals. “A lot of the software built at the moment would be heavily focussed on compliance and various ‘tick the box’; exercises. What we wanted to do was create software that actually helps people in their day to day lives, and take compliance as a given,” she explains. 

According to Crystel, part of the success behind HRLocker can be attributed to their own background as a HR consultancy. “We understand the issues companies are facing day-to-day. The landscape of work is changing, and your software must adjust to these different types of work patterns. That’s what we’ve ultimately built our product around,” she adds.

The Head of Product and Marketing argues that in many cases, businesses were totally unfamiliar, and even uncomfortable with the idea of remote working. However, with the outbreak of the virus these businesses have been given no choice but to adapt, and this ultimately presents a sink or swim exercise. “Personally, I’ve never enjoyed working from home. I love being in an office environment – but you do just have to adapt. I think a lot of businesses have been pleasantly surprised at how well they have actually adapted to the current situation,” she shares. 

Adapt to Survive

Whilst remote working has been a popular practice around the world for several years, the practice of dual working isn’t quite as well known. But what is dual working, and how does it actually work? “At HRLocker, we’ve been living and breathing remote working from day one. However, that doesn’t mean that we are remote 100% of the time, and sometimes we may have staff who work remotely for three days of the week, and would maybe come into the office twice a week,” explains Crystel. “I’ve three small kids at home. Being able to work from home 2-3 days a week has allowed me to relax a lot more. I think it will be really hard for people to go back to work five days a week.”

According to Crystel, the success of a company’s remote working environment depends on the creation of necessary infrastructure: “Realistically, you have to fully embrace remote working if it is going to work. Companies have seen that it works if you actually adapt and bring the right structures and processes into place. Companies see that they get a lot of productivity out of people when they are allowed that proper home-life balance.”

“For me personally, my biggest mistake with remote working was spending my entire day working – I felt that I didn’t leave my laptop from morning till evening. You just have to treat it like you’re going into the office. It’s a frame of mind, and for the most part, I think people like it!”

*Those wishing to learn more about HRLocker and how it can facilitate remote working teams can visit the official website, which includes plenty of useful information and templates for migrating your team to home working. Check out the free trial!*

Our remote interview with Crystel Robbins Rynne joins our award-winning Business Leader series, featuring discussions and industry insights from some of Ireland’s most exciting entrepreneurs. Check out the full playlist for more, or to find out how video marketing can transform your online business, get in touch!

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