Working remotely, working from home, telecommuting — it all means the same thing, and it all comes with unique benefits for your business. The ability to hire anyone from around the world increases your talent pool, while the work-from-home perk lowers employee turnover. Plus, you spend less on real estate, office supplies, utilities, and unscheduled absences, while workers enjoy less stress, more productivity, and savings on things like gas and work attire. So, how do you build this dream team and ensure it runs effectively?
Search Far and Wide
Freelancers are in abundance, but the key is to find people who are qualified remote workers. For example, if you’re looking to revamp your business’s website to be more user-friendly and engaging, you’ll need to hire a qualified web designer.
No matter which net you cast to find workers, you’ll need to conduct an interview. You’ll ask the basic questions, but be sure to ask questions that specifically pertain to remote work.
- What’s your remote work experience?
- What tools do you use to manage and get work done?
- How do you manage conflicts/issues?
- How do you troubleshoot problems?
- What is your home office like and how do you stay focused?
Communication Is Key
With a remote team, you can’t call a quick meeting in the break room or pop in on a new employee to see how they’re doing, so how can you stay connected? Video conferencing software is the way to go, with some of the most popular being Skype, Google Hangouts, and Lifesize. Key features to look for include video and audio communication with two or more people, meeting invites, instant messaging, and recording.
Why would you need to record a call? You may need information for future reference, plus transcribing notes and sharing them with the team ensures no one missed anything if their signal went out or they had to step away. Take advantage of the wonders of technology with an automated transcription service to transcribe audio or video meetings. Instant messaging is also a great tool to use as well for quick questions, as well as to build relationships. Make sure messages are informative and respectful of the recipient’s time zone. Consider creating group chats for work and personal conversations.
When you’re working with a remote team, many people in your staff may live in a different time zone or even outside the U.S. You may need to communicate with them while you’re out of the office, so it’s crucial that you have a wireless carrier that has a proven record of quality service and coverage. When choosing a carrier, consider a company’s reputation, the speed of their network, and the range of their coverage.
Put Together a Toolbox
Remote teams are self-sufficient, but you still need to provide them with tools to work effectively and productively, starting with a way to track their time to ensure their paycheck is accurate. Use a timesheet app such as Hubstaff or Timesheets.com to keep track of billable hours, monitor where and for how long employees are devoting their time, and make necessary adjustments to improve productivity.
Although it can be used for payroll, it is best to use a professional accounting service such as YourBooksAccounting.com for not only payroll but also tax prep and bookkeeping to ensure your business is following mandated laws and regulations. Knowing your financials are in order gives you the freedom to focus on workflow. Keep everyone on track and extend a helping hand by recommending some of your go-to remote working tools.
For example, Trello lets you create boards for various projects and tasks, whether they are weekly or quarterly, as well as assign individual boards to each team member with their tasks for the day. Google Drive is another great tool to share documents and collaborate.
Putting together a remote team might seem a little daunting, but it’s easy if you know where to start. Hire the best talent using a temp agency or job board, and conduct thorough interviews to ensure team members are up for the job. Utilize any and all helpful tools to make remote work a success, and you’ve got a dream remote team.