Thanks to the internet, the way people work is changing, and businesses are increasingly broadening their horizons when looking for employees. Remote workers are able to complete job roles online without having to be in the same place as an organization. For small businesses, this can be vital as it allows them to be more fluid and save on the cost of physical workplaces.
There are now hundreds of organizations in the United States that are 100% remote. Many major brands such as Microsoft and Google also utilize the remote worker job market. If major organizations do it, so should your small business.
For instance, if you want to create an online news website focused on sports betting, looking for a remote worker could be beneficial. You won’t be tied to a local pool of web designers, editors, and marketers. Incidentally, if you are looking to create a sports betting website, click here to see an example of how a sports gaming site functions.
If you are a small business embarking on using remote workers, here are some ways to develop a functional remote environment.
In any company, communication is important for inter-organizational matters. As a small business owner, communication can help you understand how your company is performing. When looking at using remote workers, communication becomes vital.
Remote workers are not with you physically and in some cases may even be in another country. Keeping in touch through communication channels is necessary to ensure you and your employees are on the same page. There are four communication methods that can connect you with remote workers.
Chat: For instant communication, quick questions, and messages, chat solutions are a very good choice. While services like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger work, as a business owner you will likely prefer a workplace chat solution. For example, Slack or Microsoft Teams are the leaders in this market and provide a direct line between you and your employees (remote or not).
Email: Email remains an excellent form of communication, especially if you need to send something long form or don’t need an instant reply. If you are entering into a topic that you expect to last for the long term, an email chain is a better option than a chat solution.
Phone: One of the great things about services like Slack and VoIP solutions like WhatsApp and Skype is that they allow you to make free calls (providing the recipient is also signed to the service). Most of the time you won’t need to contact your remote workers by voice, but in some circumstances, a phone call is needed.
Regular Meetings: It is worth pointing out that being remote should not mean your employees are unavailable. Regular meetings are an excellent way to keep up communication. Of course, some remote positions won’t require you to constantly communicate with your remote employees. In these work environments, meetings are an ideal way to check-in and get progress reports. Furthermore, a meeting will provide vital human interaction between you and your employees.
One of the biggest mistakes made by organizations when they use remote workers is becoming detached. When working remotely, it’s much easier for someone to be left in the dark and feel outside normal proceedings. To prevent these situations of isolation from arising, try to keep yourself transparent and open.
The communication methods listed above are a good start, but company leaders can maintain engagement in other ways. For example, creating a calendar of availability to schedule regular check-ins with remote workers. Doing so will help your employees feel included and keep them motivated to deliver the best results.
Develop Working Relationships
If you communicate with remote workers and make yourself available, the next step will be to foster proper working relationships with your employees. When communicating or in scheduled meetings, make sure to enter some general chat to get to know your colleagues. Perhaps you can simply ask how their week has been or build on a previous conversation to create more of a rapport.
Create a Knowledge Base
If you have multiple remote workers across different roles there is a risk, they all just “do their own thing”. This means the employees work on their own devices. While some imagination is good, creating a centralized knowledge base can ensure all workers are on the same page.
Maybe this is a list of basic guidelines that must be followed or a place where there’s information about company standards and frequent questions. Platforms like Trello are good for this, providing a task-based system that can be accessed by employees. Alternatively, if your business is big enough you can create a company wiki for workers to check.
Perhaps the biggest benefit of creating a knowledge base is you can let employees get on with their work. You will have confidence they understand your expectations, and the worker will feel empowered and won’t need to frequently ping you with questions.
Find the Right People
You could have the best structure for remote working possible, but it will all fall to pieces if you work with the wrong people. Like in any job situation, there are good candidates, bad candidates, and maybe those that just don’t fit with what you need. Having the ability to be productive as a remote worker is a skill in itself.
There are distractions when working from home or when traveling. Remote workers who can be functional employees are valuable and you should look for someone with the following attributes.
- Keeps up communication
Companies are increasingly seeing the value of using remote workers. By embracing remote, you are opening your organization up to a talent pool that encompasses the world. Certainly, businesses are getting the message and by 2017 there were nearly 200 companies in the United States that were completely remote.
Whether you will go 100% remote or simply hire some remote workers, you will quickly appreciate the flexibility and productivity that you receive. By following some of the simple steps above, you can ensure you have the best remote worker experience possible.