Telecommuting is becoming an increasingly popular choice for both workers and businesses, and it’s an arrangement that has many potential benefits. Business owners don’t need to provide offices and facilities, so, thereby saving themselves substantial overhead costs. Plus, employees can work from the comfort of their own homes becoming remote workers, saving commuting time, expenses and hassles.
It sounds like a great model for small businesses, and when it works well it is, but there are some key differences to having staff who don’t work under your supervision in an office environment. If you want telecommuting to succeed for your business, it pays to bear these differences in mind.
Managing Remote Workers
Homeworkers need to be capable of a degree of autonomy, so when selecting staff, you should be looking for people who have a proven track record and impress you with their abilities to think for themselves and be self-motivated.
If your employees work from home, you need to be able to trust that they will spend their time working productively rather than doing the bare minimum to get by. You can’t keep a watch over what they do with their time, and you won’t be in a position to observe how they’re managing their workload.
It’s important to establish regular communications, either by phone or video link so that you can discuss business matters and monitor how the arrangement is working. You should, of course, check the quality of any work that’s done, whether that’s written communications or customer service responsibilities. It’s also worth considering using a business collaboration tool that acts as a hub for sharing documents between remote workers.
Responsibilities to your staff
Just because they don’t come into the office doesn’t mean you don’t have a number of responsibilities for your remote staff members. They should be on the payroll and have the same rights and benefits as an employee that travels into work every day.
You need to keep accurate staff files. Recording pay, IRS payments, expenses incurred, training provided, pension contributions. Any perks, bonuses, and benefits, hours worked, and time off for sickness or vacations. There are some excellent tools available for small businesses that can help you manage your staff if they work remotely, for example, an online pay stub maker for generating accurate salary and tax records. Of course, in short, if you want to dispense with staff responsibilities altogether, then you could opt for freelance workers. Whom you have very few responsibilities.
Whether this is a model that would work for your business depends on a number of factors. Including how important it is to have people working for you who are invested in the business. Whom you can build close working relationships.
In conclusion, some businesses thrive on employing telecommuting workers, and there’s no doubt it can be an efficient so it’s cost-effective arrangement. You just need to remember that these employees should both abide by the same rules. They would if they were working with you in person. With no fewer rights as employees than anyone else.