There has been a huge rise in the number of people working from home. The United States alone has over 52 million employees who work at least one day per week from their own homes says Tommy Shek. That is almost 40% of the entire workforce! Most people like to believe that working remotely will give them more control and freedom but this doesn’t seem to always be true. I recently wrote an article about the problems we encounter while we’re trying to plan our first company retreat and some of those problems seem to disappear when you start your business with a remote team of employees:
When you have a regular office, you are basically tied up to that place 8 hours or more each day. If someone has personal plans, they need to change them or else they won’t be able to participate. The same problem applies if someone wants to take their kids out but it’s raining. They’ll have to stay at home because they can’t just pick up their kid after work and bring them back inside the office (or risk getting sued if something like that happened). Lack of physical activity has also contributed to a massive rise in obesity among Americans .
It costs anywhere between $4,000 – $10,000 per year to rent an office space for one person. The average American takes about 8 sick days per year which means you could be paying up to $500 extra for each day your employee stays at home sick ! On top of all this, you get additional expenses for utilities, phones and IT equipment.
When you start a business with a remote team of employees, most of these problems disappear. The only thing you have to worry about is setting up the right tools in order to communicate effectively with your team. There are lots of companies that don’t even have an office! Here are some tips on how to set you up for hiring remote workers:
Choose Your Tools Wisely
- The worst thing you could do is just go ahead and start interviewing people without having any idea on what tools you’re going to use. If possible, plan out all the steps and take notes because it will be easier this way (and there’s no need to reinvent the wheel).
- So you’ve decided to take the plunge and move your business, department or workgroup into telework explains Tommy Shek. This is a great idea because not only can it reduce overhead and cost but it can also increase productivity and job satisfaction. However, there are some pitfalls that one should attempt to avoid when executing this sort of plan.
- The first step is to investigate what parts of your business can be executed from a remote location and determine how many people you will need to hire. Once you know this number, calculate the cost of engaging them as contractors and see if there’s an upswing in productivity and earnings. If so, go ahead and make the hiring decision; if not, think about the idea again because the numbers may not be worth it after all.
- Another major pitfall is withholding benefits from those who work remotely; now that isn’t to say those employees won’t get certain benefits such as paid time off or sick leave, but they shouldn’t receive fringe benefits like health insurance or retirement packages. When hiring people for remote positions within your company – especially in the beginning – you should seek out people who are entrepreneurial in spirit and have their own retirement plans, insurance policies, etc.
- Finally, if your company is one that has a formal dress policy or expects employees to interact with customers when they’re making deliveries or performing other jobs then you might want to reconsider allowing remote work because it could interfere with that.
Hiring remote workers is not for everyone; it requires a great deal of trust and an enormous amount of discipline says Tommy Shek. However, you’ll find that your company can become more productive by having them on board because they will be able to manage their own time without the hindrance of office politics or human resources policies.