By Princess Jones
Studies show that an overwhelming percentage of the workforce has considered working from home. Work from home opportunities top the most popular search engine queries. And for good reason, too. Remote work allows workers to create environments that most benefit them and allow business owners to create a business structure that’s flexible and efficient.
But adding remote workers to your business isn’t as simple as sending some of your current employees home to finish their work for the day. It’s going to change some key elements of the way you run your business. If you’ve been thinking about taking your business remote (or at least adding a few remote workers to your workforce), consider these big changes coming your way.
1. Overhead Decreases
Probably the most attractive thing about running a remote team is the amount of overhead it will save you. Office space and all of the amenities that go with it can get expensive. If your team works from home (or wherever they want), you’re not on the hook for rent, water, electricity, or keeping the breakroom stocked.
Depending on your company structure, you may even be able to avoid paying for equipment. (1099 contractors generally provide their own computers and other equipment.) You could also try a hybrid approach by requiring employees to purchase their own supplies and reimbursing certain costs or a percentage of the overall costs with a yearly cap.
2. Communication Gets Harder
Communication is the key to any relationship and business relationships are no different. But if you think communication is work when your entire team is just a few feet away, imagine what it’s going to be like when your team may be across the world and several time zones.
If you’re planning to go remote, you need to make communication and collaboration tools a priority. You have a variety of tools to choose from, including apps like Slack, Skype, and Hangouts. They were made for opening the lines of communication across platforms and time zones. Also, consider using cloud apps like Google Docs or Office 365 to make real time collaboration less stressful.
3. Results Take a Higher Precedence
At some point, work culture at large began to be about how many hours were put into the office rather than how much work was actually accomplished. If you’ve been living by the idea that your workers are only working when you see them in the office, it’s going to be a big change for you. You’ll have to find a way to switch your expectations.
A more efficient way to measure the effectiveness of remote workers is to look at how much they get done. Instead of requiring a certain number of hours in a seat, you can set goals in terms of projects. You may expect that that your workers be available during certain hours of the day. But you’ll measure their productivity by what they are getting done rather than how long they are at their desk.
4. Staffing Options Increase and Decrease Simultaneously
When you work with local talent only, you limit your employee pool to people who can commute to your office every day. That’s fine if you’re located near an unlimited source of talent, but if you aren’t, you’ll find your hiring options limited. As soon as you open your business up to remote workers, you’ll find that you have a lot more skilled workers to choose from. Suddenly, you can be a lot more choosey about who you take on.
On the other hand, you’ll have to add one more requirement to your open positions — someone who can thrive in a remote work environment. Regardless of what most of your interviewees will tell you, not everyone is cut out for remote work. It takes a special sort of person to work independently, feel comfortable using technology to collaborate, and maintain a high level of focus in the face of the numerous distractions that can plague the remote worker. You’ll have to screen carefully during the interview process. If possible, look for someone who has already had a history of success at this type of work.