Hiring remote employees has benefits for small business owners, but it also presents a lot of challenges. Without face-to-face interaction, it's harder to find workers who will be a good fit for your business and manage their output. This guide will help you hire an effective, productive remote staff that meets your business's needs.
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The biggest reason to hire remote workers is financial. With a remote staff, you don't have to spend money on office space or equipment for your employees. Remote hiring also gives employers access to a larger talent pool. When you're not limited to workers in your immediate geographical area, you have the flexibility to seek out top talent.
Employees benefit from remote work as well. Workers with short commutes rate higher in job satisfaction and productivity, and it doesn't get shorter than a commute to a home office. Employees who are happy at work are also more likely to stick around, leading to reduced turnover.
How to Hire Remote Employees
A permanent staff delivers the best results when it comes to ongoing work. Hiring employees, rather than freelancers or independent contractors, also gives the business owner more say over when and how work is completed.
Virtual assistants, bookkeepers, and human resources professionals are popular choices for businesses dabbling in remote hiring, but there's no limit to the type of staff that can be hired remotely. The most important thing is finding self-starters who have the skills to follow instructions and manage their own productivity with minimal oversight. Many employers prefer to hire applicants with a history of remote work. You should also arrange face-to-face interviews; if an in-person interview isn't possible, opt for video chat rather than a phone call.
Small companies may choose to work with an employment agency rather than hiring workers directly. This offers a number of benefits, particularly when it comes to insurance, payroll, and other logistics. Instead of worrying about the details, businesses can pay a flat rate to a remote staffing agency to have their business's needs met.
How to Hire Freelancers
Freelancers are ideal for one-off tasks and temporary assignments. Rather than hiring a full-time, benefitted employee, businesses can hire freelancers through sites like Upwork for projects such as building a website or app, designing graphics, or developing a database. The best way to connect with and screen freelancers is through freelance job boards where you can easily compare applicants' skills, rates, and work history.
While freelancers are easier to hire and fire than full-time employees, it's also easier for a freelancer to skip out on a project. A strong freelance agreement protects the business and the contractor by laying out the terms of the project including deliverables, payment terms, and completion dates.
Managing Remote Employees
In some ways, a remote workforce is easier to manage than on-site staff. With a remote staff, it's easy to tell who is doing their part and who isn't based on productivity goals. However, that only works if you have clear expectations and a system for tracking progress.
Set expectations for your remote workforce by creating milestones for ongoing projects and guidelines so workers know the quality of work expected of them. Employers should also make use of project management and time tracking software to monitor progress and track where employee's time is being spent.
Even with a remote staff, it's important to engage regularly. Coordinate weekly video conferences, monthly on-site meetings, and/or annual retreats where you can come together as a team and reinforce your company's community and values.
Not sure if a remote workforce is right for your business? If you're curious about the benefits of telework but aren't read to commit to a fully remote staff, start by hiring a few remote employees for tasks that don't need a lot of oversight, such as HR. This will give you an opportunity to refine your remote employee management practices and decide if shifting to a remote workforce is the best way to meet your business's goals.
Julie Morris - Life and Career Coach - firstname.lastname@example.org - juliemorris.org
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