To many companies, the notion of hiring a remote team sounds outrageous and even horrific. CEOs may imagine the worst case scenario when it comes to remote workers — their employees sitting at home watching TV, going to the park with their dog or running errands and only answering the occasional email to provide the illusion of work. In reality, a survey conducted by serviced-office provider IWG found that 70% of people around the world work at least one day a week from home, and 53% work remotely for half of the week.
In recent years, the workforce has also experienced a rise in the gig economy, as many seek to create a better work-life balance. With the rapid development of technology, more often than not, there is no need for employees to arrive at the office. They can spend more time with their kids, work around caring for elderly parents, develop hobbies and more. In fact, working remotely is one of the main benefits people look for when applying for new roles. Some companies go as far as hiring a remote team exclusively, such as Buffer or Automattic, which closed its San Francisco office after none of their 650 employees showed up for work.
The Pros of Employing Remote Workers
There is a range of benefits that comes with hiring a remote sales team and remote workers in other fields. So many, in fact, that we’ll only name the top ones here.
Increase Your Profit Margin
Real estate is expensive, no matter where your company is based. When hiring a remote team, you save not only on rent but also on bills, office supplies and furniture. When opting to hire a remote team, you’re also reducing the number of absence days. When working from home, most employees will continue working even through mild illnesses, which, according to Global Workplace Analytics, can otherwise cost businesses up to $1,800 per employee per year.
Another great perk of remote workers is that they are actually more productive than office workers, hence, making your company more money in the long run. With no background noises from the open office, no unnecessary meeting or coffee breaks, remote workers can focus on the task at hand, in their own time. Additionally, the Global Workplace Analytics survey found that 53% of remote workers were likely to work overtime, compared to 28% of office workers. Finally, with access to global talent, not only can you find the best person for the role, but you can also save on salaries, as you will be hiring from outside the US.
Improve Satisfaction and Retention
When working from home, your employees will save time and a substantial amount of money on unnecessary commuting. This may sound like a minor issue, but research found that prolonged commuting may lead to weight gain, stress, loneliness, and even divorce, in addition to the cost of gas, which can amount to up to $4,600 per year. Cutting all of this adds up to happy employees, and those are retained for longer periods of time, saving you money on recruiting as well. Also, did you know that by offering a role as a remote position, you can help grow the diversity in your company? It’s a win-win.
How to Hire a Remote Team Efficiently
Hiring a remote sales team takes more thought and planning than traditional recruiting since there are more factors to consider. For instance, you’d want to make sure the person you’re hiring has experience in working remotely or is a self-motivator. In addition, you need to take into account the applicant’s Internet infrastructure. If they have a poor connection, their work will suffer accordingly, no matter how talented they are. It’s worth mentioning that even if the role is not technical in nature, the candidate still needs to be tech-literate, as all of the communication will be based online. Here are a few more tips to help you with the recruiting process of remote workers:
Job Description and Job Posting
Make sure you are clear about the role being remote, as you want to attract candidates who are ready for that type of work. Furthermore, include all of the tools that will be necessary for the position, the skills (such as setting their own goals and deadlines) and expectations. Since this form of work may be new to some people, you want to be as clear as possible. Also, talk about your company, your team and what it’s like working remotely — explain about the culture as well, to make it appealing for the applicant. As for posting the job, you’d want to hit all of the major remote work job boards and groups, such as FlexJobs, Working Nomads and Nomad List. Those are directed at people who already understand remote work.
References and Testing
As your employee will be unsupervised for most of the time, you want to make sure they are reliable, as well as qualified for the role. While their resumes and online profiles can give you a pretty good picture of their experience and employment history, never trust it blindly. As they are located far away, it’s easier for applicants to exaggerate some of their experience. Use online testing and the interview process to examine their knowledge, while asking for detailed references from past clients and employers to make sure they are a good fit for your remote team. You can ask the referee if the candidate is fast to reply; if they usually meet deadlines; if they’ve had any issues of disappearing without notice; and so on.
Soft Onboarding and Trial Period
Onboarding is an important period in any new role, but it is extremely crucial with remote workers. The first few weeks will determine whether or not the employee will remain with your company. With remote work, you should try and keep a balance between not piling on too much and not losing touch at the same time. The employee should get a sense of what it’s like to work remotely for your company, but if you let them become independent too soon, they may not feel like a part of the team.
A good way is to try and schedule a weekly check-in, in addition to keeping a line open for questions. Also, make sure to introduce the employee to the other team members, so they’ll feel included. Allowing them a trial period of a month, where at the end they can decide if they wish to continue, is a good way to ensure they know what they are getting into. This will give you the opportunity to test their work at the same time as well.