The advent of cloud computing and the advancement of mobile communications technology has put the spotlight on the entrepreneurial advantages of running a strictly virtual business. But such maneuvers are not without their risks, and at the top of the list of concerns e-entrepreneurs ought to have are ones that concern the employment of remote workers. While studies indicate that “stay-at-home” employees are happier and more productive, there are unique obstacles and incentives to hiring remote workers that must be addressed if you expect to get the most out of switching to a business that operates in the cloud.
If you’re already employing remote workers or are planning on it, take into consideration the following:
Getting it in Writing
The latest contract management software can make a strong case for calls to abandon paperwork completely. But while such technology certainly provides you with court-friendly templates, e-signing is not the way to go when dealing with remote workers, especially if surety bonds and other obligatory steps are taken. Even if it means overnighting documents across the country, it pays to put it in writing.
Confirmation of Identity is Critical
A true identity is a precious commodity on the Internet. Confirming a worker’s identity through documentation and a face-to-face is a mainstay of the hiring process, but it gets a little difficult when distance is added into the equation. But with the help of scanners and Skype, confirming someone’s identity online is not as difficult as it seems. With that said, it’s most certainly as critical as it seems when it comes to your remote workers.
One thing many a greenhorn e-entrepreneur fail to consider is the fact that non-commuting workers do not need to be paid as much as those who are asked to travel for their job. Once you’ve established the fair pay for a particular job, subtract the cost of what you deem would be a realistic average commute for a would-be office worker, then make that your opening offer.
Deadlines are More Useful than Daily Quotas
When developing your e-business model that includes remote workers it’s probably a smart idea to anticipate a wide range of hourly productivity rates on a weekly basis. Those working from home are going to juggle their schedules more than they otherwise would in an office especially if they have families. Instead of demanding daily levels of work, make them adhere to deadlines at the end of the week and focus on enforcing this instead, as well as coordinating the sales end to this schedule.
Outsourcing is Cheap, but Exercise Caution
The elephant in the room when it comes to entrepreneurs developing e-offices is of course the issue of outsourcing. The thing that can be said about this issue is that, while there are clear economic advantages to hiring labor outside of the country, keep in mind that the laws that small business owners can rely on when it comes to enforcing surety bond agreements and other arrangements may not protect you. Unlike corporations that have armies of lawyers to handle these affairs, you will be on your own. If you hire outside the country, make sure you’re hiring the right people.
The virtual office is one of the best ways today’s business minded individuals can see success in a struggling global economy. The slashed overhead and other cost-savers provide real incentive to those looking to cut every ounce of fat from their entrepreneurial ideas. But so long as you will be relying on others, it pays to ensure that you take the best first steps possible when hiring such remotely placed workers. Do this, and there’s virtually no way an e-office won’t enhance your level of success.