Is remote help the right move for your small business? You might think of yourself as a one-person band, but if you feel like you're working 24/7 and still aren't getting enough done, it may be time to hire a remote worker.
So how does remote working work? A remote worker is an employee who doesn't work in your office with you. They could live in your city, a different state, or another country. If they have the right skills and experience and are compatible with you and your team, location doesn't matter. A reliable internet connection and the ability to reach them online or via phone during agreed upon hours are all you need for a successful working relationship.
Here are three important ways a remote worker can be an asset to your business and some tips on how to get your new employee connected and ready to join your team.
1. Boost productivity
Recent studies have shown that employees who work from home work longer hours and tend to get more work done than office-based employees, likely because they:
- Can work comfortably from anywhere.
- Can take breaks anytime they want.
- Aren't interrupted by meetings or co-workers.
If you hire someone who is used to working from home, you know you're getting someone who is highly self-motivated, independent, and doesn’t need a lot of direction. If your business doesn't require frequent team meetings or in-person collaboration, a remote employee can help you get more done in less time.
2. Reduce office expenses
Hiring remote workers can be more cost efficient than hiring on-site employees. They already have their own work setup wherever they are located, so you won't need to spend money to provide a work station, computer, or phone. Confirm with the potential remote employee during the job interview that they have the right equipment needed for the job to ensure they can complete the tasks you will require of them.
If you are paying for additional expenses, such as public transport passes, for your on-site employees, that's another expense that won’t apply to a remote employee. You can also reduce your office space and dramatically decrease your rental costs.
The advantages of remote working may even let you cut your office expenses to zero. Some small businesses work entirely online as a virtual team, meaning there is no physical office. All employees are remote and can communicate via platforms like Asana, Skype, and Slack from anywhere in the world.
3. Increased employee availability
What if you find the perfect candidate for a remote employee but they live halfway around the world from you? Before you dismiss the idea of hiring someone so far away, consider the advantages remote worker support over such a large time zone difference.
If your business has global clients, a remote worker located several time zones away from you could be a big asset when you need to communicate with clients in the same area. And while you're asleep, your far-flung employee can be working on tasks that will be completed and ready for your review by the time you wake up.
Although it will take a little more planning to communicate via chat or video call at a time you’re both awake, this arrangement is manageable.
How to set up tech services for your remote employee
All your employees, remote workers especially, must follow the cybersecurity guidelines documented in your office's cybersecurity policy. This includes:
- Securing their work phone and computer.
- Installing a firewall.
- Downloading anti-virus and anti-malware software that is set to update automatically.
- Regularly backing up information on a schedule according to your cybersecurity policy.
For remote employees who will be taking calls from clients or vendors, you will need to add them to your phone directory. Make sure your business phone system has the capability to share and route calls across the employee directory, regardless of employee location.
You'll also need to add your remote worker to your communication platform accounts and assign them a business email account. For business accounts and files, only give out the password if your remote employee requires access to complete their tasks.
A remote worker can be an asset to your small business team. These tips can help you find the right employee for the job.