The funny thing about entrepreneurs is that they have to be very detail-oriented in order to find any modicum of success. This often leads them to inevitably becoming controlling people overall. For years the technology has been present to utilize remote workers, but only recently has the practice become commonplace. This is largely because businesses have begun to seriously consider reducing costs as a strategy to gain profits.
Remote workers now are a massive part of the modern economy and are growing by the day. In fact some estimates suggest that we’re only a few years away from half of the workers that work full time will be remote workers. Up until today, one problem was that the technology that facilitates access to this new workforce didn’t allow for the type of oversight many business owners want to have over their staff. That said, it’s hard to argue with the overall cost reduction of having a remote staff.
Today, as the technology has improved, and costs keep rising, remote workers are being brought on more and more by all types of businesses. Let's look at the onboarding process of remote workers and the technology involved in making this work.
How to Determine Remote vs. In-House
The first thing we’ll take a look at is the determining factors that lead businesses to utilize remote workers more today than ever before. The first one is expertise. You’d think it would be cost, and that is a defining characteristic to be sure, but the number one consideration whether or not to onboard remote workers is definitely a lack of direct access to a specific expertise.
In a loose sense it’s a lot like the outsourcing we do. Essentially a person has a very specific expertise and that skill set is in demand. Having access to that type of expertise, even if the relationship is forged over the Internet, can really move your company’s initiatives ahead.
The other, as previously mentioned, is cost. It’s expensive to buy hardware and run networking, and rent a building, and power it, and heat/cool it, and all the other expenses most businesses roll into their monthly or quarterly budgets. By lowering capital costs (and in this case also operational costs), you’ll have more capital to reinvest in your business; or, you could take a vacation.
By onboarding remote employees, you might just be confronted with all types of abnormal variables. Firstly, your new staff won’t cost you as much money, so you’ll have more capital. Secondly, your new staff will be happier. It’s been proven that people that have flexibility to work from home tend to be more engaged and hold a more positive opinion of their job. Lastly, with the combination of saving money on commuting and other expenses, with their happiness of their job, employee turnover is reduced significantly.
How to Onboard a Remote Worker
If you have found a worker that you would like to bring into the fold, but they cannot commit to being in the office either due to distance or some other reason, there are a few guidelines that you should stick to and document. The best way for you to efficiently and successfully hire outsourced workers is to have a plan in place.
The first consideration you have to make is to ascertain if you have the resources to make it easy for a remote worker. Your organization will have to have some hosted solutions in place. Having cloud-based communication, productivity, and management applications makes it much easier to onboard workers that aren’t working locally. With solutions such as productivity suites, Voice over Internet Protocol, and other cloud-hosted options, a business has to have the resources in place to make remote working possible before conducting any interview.
During the interview process, you should attempt to have a face-to-face interview. This will get you on a first name basis and help you feel out your new hire’s experience and professional goals. If for whatever reason they can’t meet you, you can utilize your video conferencing solution to perform the interview. Once that is done, you’ll want to draft up a stock email welcoming him/her to the team, while providing them the employee handbook and a way to sign all the legal paperwork. This may be more difficult logistically, but ultimately, if the hire is as right as you think he/she is you’ll be happy you made the effort. As a bonus, you’ll have laid the groundwork for a remote hire process, making it easier and easier each time you decide to add a remote worker into the fold.
Once the procedural tasks are completed it’s time to introduce your new hire to your existing team. This is an important step because the more comfortable this person is with your existing staff, the easier the collaborative process is, helping everyone to quickly be more productive. The best way to do this is by using your company email solution, an instant messaging system, or one of the innovative new collaboration tools on the market that integrates messaging and productivity.
You’ll want to have a more structured training system in place. For the onsite worker, training is simpler because they tend to have people to ask if they are doing something correctly, and to check their progress. The remote worker doesn’t have this resource, so splitting up the essential training they need into segments can really help keep the remote worker’s attention. Once that is done, assign someone to work with the new hire until they understand the concepts of your CRM or other management software. This way they aren’t swimming upstream when they begin to log time remotely. With the help of another worker, the new hire will get the jist of the job quickly. Now they can do what you hired them to do: provide the lacking expertise.
Every business is looking for workers that can help take their business to the next level, and frequently, they are found (and are available) online. If you would like more information about onboarding your remote workers, or if you have any other business-IT-related questions, contact the IT professionals at Machado Consulting today at (508) 453-4700.