There are nearly four million remote workers in the United States. Some of these are employees that utilize a home office while others are freelancers. Although this number only represents a very small percentage of all professionals, as new technology gets better and better, the work-from-home trend will only get more popular.
If you’re just starting your own business, it’s easy to get caught up looking for a brick-and-mortar location. Likewise, it may even be difficult to imagine letting go of certain tasks that you’ve always done yourself. Hiring remote workers can help you save on equipment and other costs, and will free you up to focus on the areas where you function the best.
Before you start posting job descriptions, however, you should make sure that you have the necessary funds to bring employees on board. If your business is struggling during the pandemic, there is help available through government programs and private grants. You also should understand both the benefits and the challenges that go along with leading a team spread across county or state lines. Having this knowledge will empower you to take control and be the master of your success.
The Benefits of a Remote Work Environment
One of the most attractive aspects of hiring remote workers is that it broadens the candidate pool. You still have the same challenges as hiring people locally, but you have a much larger network of people to choose from. For example, when you need a specific skill set, such as web design or graphics, finding a freelance partner is as simple as scrolling through a list of available experts or posting on a job board. You can find everything from freelance copywriters to experienced virtual assistants using online platforms.
As alluded to previously, you are not limited to the workers within the confines of your hometown. You can recruit talent from anywhere, although US-based freelancers/remote workers may be easier to manage. You’ll have access to people who work best in the morning, at night, and during regular business hours so you can operate your business around-the-clock without having to offer overtime or third-shift pay differentials.
Beating the Challenges
For all of its benefits, not having a dedicated office does have a few hurdles. The most significant of these is communication.
Since you have people in different locations, it may be difficult to gather everyone in the same virtual space. Plan to invest in some form of virtual meeting software; Capterra suggests Lifesize, Pexip, and several others. Each will have different features, so do your research first.
Look for a program that can record your meetings so freelance can stay in the loop when not available during your open hours.
You’ll also want to equip your “regular” employees with instant messaging software so they can bounce ideas off one another in real time. Working in Slack allows employees to work collaboratively, and you can also dedicate channels to specific projects so your team knows what’s going on at all times.
Collaboration may also be hindered if you do not have a formal workflow structure. Thankfully, team collaboration software is both accessible and affordable. Collaboration software offers messaging but also file sharing, task management, and a calendar feature. Most also feature kanban boards so that you can visualize, organize, and keep track of everyone’s progress and where a particular project is in your workflow pipeline.
Low overhead and virtually unlimited talent are two smart reasons to put together a team of remote and freelance workers. And, if you are willing to put the work into ensuring that communication and collaboration are not a problem, you will reap plenty of rewards. So get out there and lead your team fearlessly no matter where each member may be.
Tina Martin stays busy as a life coach and works hard to help herself and her clients achieve a healthy work-life balance. She started ideaspired.com as a side project to reach as many people as possible, and encourage them to put their dreams first.