The National Federation of Independent Businesses’ (NFIB) recently published an Index of Small Business Optimism, which puts hiring new employees at the head of a list of the top ten challenges facing small businesses today. As small business owners compete for talented workers employees, hiring remote workers can be an effective solution, offering many advantages in addition to cost savings.
Using remote workers, also called telecommuters or teleworkers, can help you expand your available talent pool beyond your geographic region, enabling you to attract and retain qualified candidates, while reducing office space demands.
However, be sure to consider the unique challenges of managing teleworkers before adding them to your team. Remote workers may feel less of a connection to the company than those located in the home office, and may be more difficult to supervise.
If you understand the potential challenges presented by these workers, and align their roles with your company’s culture, processes, and needs, they can become a valuable part of your small business team.
One key element to working with remote workers effectively is communication. The most common way is email, but that may not be the best choice if you need a quick answer or want to keep the communication informal. There are business software platforms that may be more effective in building a team from a remote workforce. Collaboration tools such as Slack can mimic casual conversations while also offering instant communication and file-sharing capabilities. Video conferencing programs such as Join.me, ClickMeeting, or Skype for Business, can help the remote worker feel less distant, promoting instant, effective interaction with other employees and better team building. Try to establish regular time periods when the entire team is “working” so that you can schedule video conferences and emphasize interaction and team building.
Of course, the most important challenge is to hire the right remote worker in the first place. These workers need to be disciplined self-starters who can work without a lot of direction. Telecommuters must also be effective communicators to collaborate with other employees in different locales.
Be sure to set expectations clearly about specific assignments, including project details and steps to be taken on the path toward completion. Since conversations with your remote workers may be less frequent than with your on-premise employees, carefully review and reiterate project plans to keep everyone on the same page.
There are several cloud-based collaboration solutions that help keep projects organized and teams on track. Trello and Asana are among the tools available for assigning tasks to team members, sharing files, and tracking progress. In addition to helping increase productivity and efficiency by keeping everyone informed, these tools also can help ensure that team members are working on the same version of a file or document.
In today’s virtual workspace, remote workers can be a valuable addition to your business team. Plan ahead, communicate clear expectations and set up your employees for success in the process https://aem-app.cs.zionsbank.com/editor.html/content/cbt/calbanktrust/en/blog/4-tips-for-secure-online-banking.html [cite::171::cite] [cite::172::cite].