Letting your employees work from home (or anywhere else in the world) can reduce your office overhead, make your company more attractive to new talent and ensure maximum efficiency from your team. Additionally, hiring freelancers, remote employees, or fractional CMO‘s can help you get exceptional talent, regardless of where your offices are physically located.
It can seem like a major change for a business to not hire someone that is in your office every day, or even working with your business full-time, but more data and statistics are showing that freelance and remote workers are becoming a workplace staple in companies small and large. According to Upwork, it is expected that by 2027 a majority of the workforce will be freelancers, and by 2020, according to the Freelancers Union, 50% will be freelancing as a part of their career.
For many HR departments and business owners, utilizing flexible workforces and remote employees can be a new challenge. Here are some smart tips for putting your “away team” to work as effectively as possible.
Connecting Your Remote Workers
If you want your telecommuting employees to be as productive and efficient as their in-house coworkers, you must arm them with the proper technologies. Fortunately, that’s easier than ever in the age of cloud computing. Platforms such as Google Hangouts, Slack, Asana, Trello, and Basecamp allow for real-time interactions and full use of company data services. But this ease of communication can make information theft easier as well.
Take precautions by establishing a telecommuting security policy. Educate your remote workers in smart habits such as locking mobile devices when not in use, avoiding public WiFi channels, and using VPNs to foil digital eavesdroppers. Insist that your telecommuters use company-owned devices decked out with password protection, remote wiping capabilities, and up-to-date security software from McAfee, Symantec, and other industry leaders.
Setting your employees up with the necessary tools for telecommuting is one thing; setting the proper expectations is another. Your remote workers must be independent-minded, able to produce without supervision, content to work in isolation, and willing to focus on the job even when surrounded by the comforts of home. Many fractional CMO‘s, freelancers and experienced remote workers will already be comfortable and often can help ease the challenges if this is a new area for your company.
What can you do? Make telecommuters agree to specific expectations such as meeting deadlines, being accessible during work hours, and staying in touch with team members and supervisors. Consider handing out the work-from-home option as a reward for proven talents, seniority, past achievements or current level in the company — a perk that that can go away if expectations aren’t being met. This helps to ensure that your home workers will actually work.
How do you hold telecommuters accountable for time spent and work performed? Task management software can help by assigning specific tasks, milestones, and timelines to individual workers and teams, which are then checked off as they’re completed. Schedule periodic video conferences to keep everyone accountable to everyone else.
Outsourcing to Third Parties
If you’d like to harness even more off-site power for your business, consider making use of skilled, executive-level professionals who aren’t on your full-time staff. Outsourcing special projects or responsibilities to a fractional CMO or CFO service allows you to grow your business without expanding your payroll budget. These executives can not only lead major initiatives for your company; they can also advise you on smart strategies for boosting your long-term productivity and profitability — including telecommuting.
As an entrepreneur, or business owner, utilizing the new workers of “the gig economy,” you will find specialized skillsets and workers motivated to perform for your business in areas they are passionate about.
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