Remote employees allow your business to hire people for projects rather than for a fixed period of time. This flexibility also allows you to stay in contact with valued employees who may need work flexibility at some points in their lives. However, remote employees can feel excluded, and some may show lowered productivity over time. So how do you decide whether to use remote employees? Here are a couple of things you should think about before you hire anyone to work remotely.
What Are the Benefits?
Depending on your relationship with the employee, you may be able to move them from salaried to contract. Contracted employees are generally cheaper to maintain as they may not require benefits. Of course, if this employee intends to come back to the office after a time, it may be best for all concerned to keep them on as a salaried employee. You need to know how to manage remote employees, but it can be done with the right people. As with any resource for your business, careful management is key.
What Makes a Good Remote Candidate?
Remote employees can feel isolated and thus less useful to the team. This can impact attitude in the short term and may impact project quality. In addition, you may have other employees in the office who want to work remotely but can't. This can lead to some tension in the workplace. Not everyone can be trusted to work remotely, but if you have an employee with a history of freelancing or starting their own business, this employee is a good candidate for remote work.
How Should You Move Forward with Remote Work?
Remote workers often make the move to work from home because of a life challenge. The birth of a child or the illness of a loved one can force employees to work remotely. In these cases, make sure that you monitor and assess the work product, not the hours worked. Obviously, there will be meetings to attend and conversations that have to happen. However, your remote employee may do their best work at 4 a.m. and be unavailable at 3 p.m. Your goal is a great work product, so be flexible when setting up meetings and conference calls. If you know that someone has a schedule challenge, give them plenty of notice. If your conversation with them needs to be one on one, give them the task of setting up the meeting so they can make the best choice for their schedule.
With the right people in place, proper expectations defined and trust between employee and employer, your company can benefit from the use of remote employees. Keep lines of communication open and make sure that all team members, no matter their location, are carrying a fair load of work and are properly supported.