This guide to remote workers will help you figure out how to find and hire the best talent, and then train them, supervise them, and ensure that their productivity matches (or even exceeds!) traditional workers.
Companies hire remote employees for a million different reasons. There is no one-size-fits-all profile of a company that hires remote workers, but here are just a few of the different circumstances that hiring managers find themselves in:
Whether your situation sounds like one of these circumstances or something else, hiring distance employees is not the same as hiring traditional workers for your on-site team. If you have had any experience with this kind of recruitment, hiring, onboarding, and managing, then you likely already understand this.
But do you know the best ways to find and hire distance employees? Do you know the best practices for managing remote workers in your specific industry? Do you know how to harness all the benefits of remote work while mitigating some of the common drawbacks? This guide will help you do all of those things and more.
There are some misconceptions about what it means to be a remote employee. Lots of people have jobs that allow them to either work from home or do some of their work from a distance. This kind of work is not the same as being a true “remote worker.”
Generally, a remote worker is a person who works outside of the geographic area of their employer and therefore does all of their work at a completely different location than anyone else in the company. They may work in home offices or in a coworking environment with other independent workers, but they do not go into an office or central location with any regularity. In fact, many remote employees will never meet their colleagues or supervisors face-to-face!
To look at the benefits and drawbacks of remote workers, let’s look at what two groups of people have to say: employers who love hiring remote workers and those who have had negative experiences. These are the real experts--people with experiences, good and bad, in hiring and managing remote employees.
Remote managers report some of the benefits of their distance employees as including:
Even with these benefits, some hiring managers have a hard time with their remote team. They worry about things they have seen, such as:
It is interesting to see that some things show up as both benefits and drawbacks. Some managers report increased productivity when they have a team that works primarily online, yet others see a decrease in productivity.
This may be partly due to the fact that remote work is still relatively new, and so the process looks very different from company to company. There has been less time for managers to develop best practices for managing their remote teams, leading many companies to feel like they are reinventing the wheel when they start hiring distance employees.
Considering everything we have covered so far, you may be asking: what are the ways that I can ensure that my hiring decisions harness the benefits without falling victim to the drawbacks?
The first step is finding the right remote team members. Anyone who has worked in management knows that every worker has different strengths and weaknesses. Not everyone is cut out for the same job.
Think back through all of the workers you’ve managed in the past, and ask yourself: which ones could work independently, without tons of immediate supervision? Which ones struggled with making their own decisions and self-motivation? That independent worker would probably make a much better remote employee than the indecisive one.
Finding the right worker is important for any position, but it is especially important when hiring distance workers. Some of the things we recommend when searching for a good match are:
Once you have hired an employee, it is time to onboard and train them. When dealing with a team of remote staff, you probably won’t have the opportunity to sit down with your new hires and talk them through everything.
Instead, your training needs to be done through effective methods for distance workers. This can mean phone calls, video meetings, training through different software programs, and a variety of other methods.
Our biggest pieces of advice:
Last of all, let’s look at what productive remote workers have in common. In our experience, the best remote workers have the following traits in common:
We have found that the best remote workers are the ones who understand that remote work is not an alternative to having a traditional job. Remote work is as real as any office or on-site job, but it requires a much stronger sense of responsibility and commitment!
Principal, Lorraine Capital