How to Create and Manage a Remote Workforce – Tina Martin
Here and there we get requests from those in the industry to share their thoughts on relevant and pressing topics, Tina from Ideaspired.com wrote this article on Remote Workforces. She stays busy as a life coach and works hard to help herself and her clients achieve a healthy work-life balance. We hope you might get some ideas that help you create your “new normal” as we hopefully transition out of our global pandemic.
If you’re getting ready to start your own business, keep in mind that sometimes the best workers are not the ones that can make it to the office on a nine-to-five schedule. Remote jobs have become commonplace, and this opens up a world of possibilities when it comes to placing team members into key positions. However, establishing a non-brick-and-mortar office does take some work. The following pointers can help get you started.
Write It Into Your Business Plan
First and foremost, make sure that you include the possibility of hiring remote workers as you outline your business plan. This will ensure that you have procedures in place for how to find, hire, and manage your team. If you’ve not written a business plan yet or haven’t reviewed it in a while, it should include a market analysis, finances, and info on any resources you need to operate efficiently.
Start with Freelance Workers
A freelancer is not technically an employee, but an individual you can go to when you need certain services. They are not necessarily on your payroll but may be considered a vendor, at least in the beginning. Today, thanks to remote staffing sites, you can find a freelancer for pretty much anything you would need, including marketing copy, administrative work, and web development. One task that many business owners need help with is data entry. These professionals can help transfer information to databases and populate spreadsheets, which can be time-consuming work. The right data entry specialist should be organized and able to pay attention to details.
Perhaps the most beneficial aspect of starting off with freelance workers is that they are almost certainly already set up to work from home. As an added bonus, if you vet candidates through a job board like Upwork, you can find people to partner with for the long term or who want full-time employment.
Interview in Person or Online
The interview process for freelance workers is very similar to that of doing a person-to-person meeting. The biggest difference is that you can chat with people from around the world. Skype is a popular program for conducting online interviews and gives you a chance to evaluate your potential worker’s mannerisms and how well they organize their workspace. Online interviews are great alternatives and a wonderful time-saver even if you are planning to hire locally.
Maintain an Open Line of Communication
The digital age means that you have an almost unlimited toolbox of programs that can help your team collaborate. Slack, Google Docs, Redbooth, and other apps were made for teams that don’t huddle together in a cubicle. Make sure that your employees know to check their workflow system daily, even if they are not going to be on the clock during “regular” business hours. And as a safety net, try having all regular meetings transcribed so that staff have immediate access to discussions. Look for an automated transcription service that provides clear speech to text in minutes.
Offer Perks (That Work for You)
Having a remote workforce means you will save money in overhead. However, do yourself a favor and plan to provide your employees with technology that makes it possible to keep up with you. A computer and phone line are the minimum you should provide, but things like a scanner, a comfortable chair and desk, and filing cabinets can keep your employees’ home offices as efficient as a typical professional environment. You can ensure they have the best internet access by offering to compensate them for a portion of their bill each month.
Understand the Pros and Cons
Believe it or not, employees who work from home are almost universally more productive than those that come into an office each day. Not only do they get more done, but they also tend to take less time off and typically report higher job satisfaction. Inc. recently recounted a study done on Ctrip, a China-based travel agency with more than 16,000 employees, and found that the only real downside was employee isolation. If you do not have a dedicated building, you have to get creative to combat this potentially mental-health-harboring issue. Plan a monthly lunch, yearly retreat, or other scheduled event that puts your employees face-to-face.
Your business deserves the best that the workforce has to offer, even if it means spreading out between the coasts — or even the hemispheres. Don’t be afraid to build a team that works for you without the expense of an office mortgage.
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