Remote Remedy: How to Make it Work for Your Business
The COVID-19 pandemic put many businesses to the test: Can we function as one company with remote workers in several locations?
While some businesses have mixed reactions to the experience, others are choosing to maintain the arrangement or turn to a hybrid workforce – some on-site and some continuing remotely – to reap positive benefits, such as downsizing office space and thus, real estate costs. Long-term arrangements may not have worked two decades ago, but improved technologies in broadband and videoconferencing have eliminated many impediments to the remote work arrangement. If you are just starting a business, being proactive about the challenges of managing a remote work team increases your chances of a positive outcome.
The good news is that in the pandemic and early post-pandemic era, businesses that don’t need a continuous on-site presence will have an easier time recruiting the remote workforce than those requiring in-person labor, such as order fulfillment or construction. Parents also may face continued challenges of hybrid school instruction, requiring at least one parent to remain home on a full- or part-time basis. And for others, remote work may simply be their new arrangement of choice, having experienced some of the advantages that remote work brings to their households. You are likely to reach remote worker candidates by posting your positions on popular online job-seeking sites, or listing them with colleges and universities. You can arrange for online skills assessments and tests, with videoconferencing or telephone interviews completing the recruitment process.
Your business checklist
Now that you’re comfortable that you can find the workforce, make sure you’ve conducted your own business checklist. If your employees were working from your business office location, they would expect to be equipped with the tools necessary to complete their tasks, such as computing equipment, phones, quality headsets, and office supplies. Handling this remotely may require paying for extra warranties and insurance since the equipment will be offsite. Perhaps you simply arrange for a monthly telephone stipend in exchange for the employee using their personal cell phones, or you provide them with a dedicated work cell phone.
If any of your employees cannot be paid via direct deposit, you may have to make specific accommodations for their payroll. Human resources functions will need to be available online, such as access to a personnel manual.
Removing uncertainty increases your chances of business success. In an era where much of the workforce has experience in remote work, it’s likely they have come to understand what “tips and tricks” work for them to enhance productivity and how to handle expectations. On your end, having the business structure, human resources, payroll, and operations structures in place can help you recruit the right remote team for your business to lead your team to success, even in a challenging environment.
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