#schoolleaders To be Competitive in the Acquisition of Your Next Collection of School Talent You Might Consider the Work from Anywhere Future
I get it. Most of us at schools what a return to normalcy. We want brick and mortar. We want to be around the students. We want to walk into the lunchroom and hang out with our colleagues (well maybe not in the lunchroom with screaming 7th graders). Most of us never thought of schools as remote work possibilities for talented individuals. Since the pandemic and the wide acceptance of remote or hybrid work, maybe we should... especially for those hard to get positions. Here are some positions that could easily be turned into 75%-100% remote work positions at our #schools.
1. IT Support. Other than checking on servers from time to time, is there any reason for an IT professional to have to be on campus? If the role involves helping with instructional strategies, then yes, perhaps time on campus is important. Then there are the days for giving out devices. Maybe then it helps to have IT folks on campus. School leaders should certainly measure the convenience of having IT personnel on campus, versus the cost and accessibility of the best talent. It is possible that one very talented IT person could cover 2-5 schools utilizing the same skills with limited visits to campus. There could be either a cost savings to the school or an expertise advancement if the school would consider a remote employee in this role. 2. Advancement Director/Alumni Affairs help. Relationships matter in advancement. Many of these are developed on campus. I get that. But, what if a school had a legendary alum living in Dallas whose network with other alumni and large donor prospects for the school was deep even though the school was in another state. If the school is large and established, artificially tethering a development person to the school's town and campus makes even less sense. Large established private schools have understood this for decades with their boards of trustees, offering quarterly or even yearly meetings. With remote work strategies, a great leader with relationships should be able to work from anywhere, coming to the school for key events and live streaming ball games/performances to stay in the loop. Again, talent here is more important than geographic location. 3. Communications: with ubiquitous access to social media largely mastered by students, the entire school narrative other than published annuals could largely be done by students. Sensitive communication of key Head of School/Board communications like the annual tuition announcement can obviously be done through email, slack, or google docs. Other than comfort, there would not be a need for a communications director to be on campus. Again, an alum or someone who otherwise has great talent but may live in another city could be a great hire for a school. 4. College Counselor: This one may sound crazy. I get it. I was a College Counselor in a past life and I couldn't imagine not being around the students and faculty. But College Counselors spend a great deal of time on the road already, need to have focused quiet time to write recs for large portions of the school year, and could make family meetings with students much more convenient on Zoom. 5. Expert, hard to find discipline experts in AP Calc/Physics/Chemistry How many sleepless nights have you had as a division leader charged with hiring a leader in one of these teaching roles only to realize that the odds of you finding one with the credentials you need who actually like students and lives within an easy commuting distance of your school is equal to the proverbial needle in a haystack? Like the article below suggests, spouses of military folks are often in a situation where they have to pick up and move away from a school they love. Why not offer them a permanent position in a role like this where they can attach to a school even if from remote. There are probably many more options for remote work on our campuses. Obviously, we don't need everyone going remotely and do not want the appearance of a "Wizard of OZ" facade to our school. That could hurt a school's reputation. Kindergarten teachers need to be with their kids. Heads of School and Principals need to be visible. Athletic Directors and coaches have the responsibility for active supervision, but.... what talent we could drive toward our schools if we thought about how the Work from Anywhere movement might help us. This post is written upon the inspiration of an HBR article from Prithwiraj (Raj) Choudhury, Associate Professor of Harvard Business School. It analyzes what we have learned about Remote work and the Work from Anywhere (WFA) movement that has had a place in America since the gas crisis of the 1970s. I encourage you to read it with your executive team to see if there may be applications for your #indyschools #privateschools