Working remotely or telecommuting has become exceedingly popular in recent years. According to the United States Census, about 5% of Americans now work from home. What was once considered nearly impossible is now becoming a bigger trend than ever before, and it benefits both employees and employers.
From a business standpoint, there are many perks to letting your employees work remotely. It can improve employee retention, lower your costs, increase productivity, and open up your pool of applicants, so you can choose to hire someone locally or find a phenomenal talent almost anywhere in the world.
But, there are some things you need to consider before you start offering remote positions to your employees. You need to ask yourself which positions will work from a telecommuting perspective, and how will your business benefit? Once you’ve decided to go the remote route with some of your employees, make sure to set yourself up for success by taking in some of the following considerations.
Making Sure You Have the Technology
Technology is the biggest reason why working remotely is even a possibility. It allows everyone to stay connected at all times, no matter where they are in the world.
With that in mind, it’s essential that your business has the right technology in place for a successful telecommuting transition. When used incorrectly, technology can actually keep employees from being productive and serve as more of a distraction.
So use it to your advantage with remote employees by encouraging things like daily morning check-ins with the team, or regular video calls with your remote employees. Someone can work from home and still feel as though they are a part of the group if you use technology the right way.
It’s also important to make sure your remote employees have access to reliable internet. Your company can choose to provide or pay for internet services or encourage your employees to get reliable service on their own that ensures they’ll be able to complete all of their work and stay connected. Because of things like mobile hotspots allowing users to have Wi-Fi wherever they go, it opens up an opportunity for people to work almost anywhere.
In addition to having a strong internet connection, take the time to make sure your remote employees understand how to have privacy protection in place online, for the safety of their personal data and your business’ information. They should have a working knowledge of the internet to use it safely from home.
Lines of Communication
Having the right technology will make communication easier, but in order to keep things organized, having a chain of communication in place is essential. One of the biggest issues employers often have with remote workers is that it can sometimes feel as though they’re missing out on things that are happening in the workplace.
One way to remedy that is to have a communication plan in place. There are different communication styles in the workplace, and those aren’t always easy to convey via text or an email from a remote worker. So set up multiple ways of communicating to make sure everyone is on the same page. This might require things like conference calls in order to actually hear your workers’ voices and get a better feel for what they’re saying or thinking. After all, a workplace that is more collaborative will yield better results, and that starts with strong communication.
Who should your remote employees be reporting to? How often should they be checking in? What’s the main form of communication throughout the day?
By asking yourself these questions as you consider the different communication styles, you’ll create a more organized system of interaction between your remote employees and the ones working in-house.
Choosing the Right Insurance
Most states require businesses to have some kind of workers’ compensation insurance. You might think that because you have employees working remotely, you don’t need to worry about that kind of insurance for them, but that’s a common misconception.
Employees who work out of the office are still entitled to insurance that will help to cover their expenses if they get injured while working. If a remote worker gets hurt when they’re performing their daily work tasks, it is often treated the same as an employee getting injured at the place of business. Workers’ compensation insurance can cover their medical expenses and/or rehabilitation costs.
It’s just as important to have protections in place for your remote employees as it is for the ones who work in-house. Not only does it keep your business safe, but it’s another aspect that allows those workers to feel more connected, and like part of the team.
Are there things you might have to change and adapt to within your company if you hire remote employees? Yes. But by making some of these changes and encouraging telecommute options, you can take your business to the next level. Not only will you be able to hire the best workers possible, but you can create an environment of happy, satisfied employees who will be ready to make your business a success.
Take these ideas into consideration as you make your transition to remote employee possibilities, and you’ll start to see the benefits that can come from telecommuting.