Learn how businesses, not just Fortune 100 companies, are finding and using remote workers to tap the skills needed to stay competitive and profitable.
If you were to think back to just 10 years ago, the perception of what a "normal" workplace looks like would be dramatically different than the one today. From the highly structured office layout to orderly boardroom meetings, every aspect of running a business was conventional, efficient and systematic – until it wasn’t.
When technology started changing the way people communicated and shared information in both social and professional settings, it seemed that all bets were off. From dial-up to Skype to web-hosting services like Zoom and GoToMeeting, the possibilities have become endless. Now, with apps that seemingly do everything and programs that manage people, hours and activities, remote global workforces are leading the way for companies everywhere.
The concept, also known as telecommuting, isn’t all that new. For employees who telecommute, they find that working in their own personal space leads to more productivity, creativity and overall success – both for themselves and their employers.
What is new, however, is how many companies are operating based on the efforts and skills of remote workforce, whether it is by choice or by circumstances. For some employers, finding the ideal candidates with the right training and skills often takes them beyond their local base. Instead, many businesses find the skillsets they need in other cities, states or countries.
Companies such as Apple, Dell, Sears and even the U.S. Department of Transportation are shining examples of companies that hire remote workers for various positions. And while, certainly, there are apprehensions about hiring remote workers, such as not being able to manage employees firsthand, the benefits of giving employees the freedom, space and creative atmosphere they feel strongest in reaps many companies ample rewards.
The most important thing for companies that hire remote staff to keep in mind is to be accessible and provide clear communication. For it to be a successful endeavor, clear expectations and deadlines must be communicated clearly to remote workers. Virtual meetings must be attended and updates must be expressed to keep the entire team – regardless of where workers are located – abreast on the progress of a project.
Furthermore, utilize apps, programs and file-sharing services that allow you to interface with remote workers, stay up to date on projects and share data and information.
Finally, managers must trust in their ability to lead from afar – and the abilities of their team members. With workers based in locations throughout the world, it's imperative to depend on team members and hold them accountable. Without the security of knowing your team will pull through for each project, managing a remote workforce would be incredibly stressful.
Telecommuting is only going to become more common as further advances in technology are introduced and businesses re-evalute their HR and operational strategies. Though the days of hanging out by the water cooler may be nearing an end, the days of operating a million-dollar company efficiently and successfully using remote workers are within reach.