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Remote Working for Small Business: Considerations and Requirements for Employers

If you’re starting up a small business in the current scene, you might want to consider allowing some of your workforce to telecommute or work remotely. Across industries, there is an increasing trend toward this sort of flexibility. With advances in modern cloud computing capabilities and communications technology, employees are largely able to perform the tasks expected of them from somewhere other than the company’s office.

As people have come to value control over their schedule and work-life balance, affording employees this kind of working arrangement can help you bring in and retain top talent, keeping your personnel happy while cutting down on your operating costs. Here are some key points.

Planning and scope

Take into consideration every task and position – what functions can be done by a remote worker? Presentation design or data analysis, for example, can be done remotely; product manufacturing must be done on-site. You also need to consider scale. Some jobs might not be available on a full-time remote basis, but can be fulfilled by telecommuting – that is, occasionally reporting to the office for certain tasks, while being able to perform other duties remotely.

Requirements

Your business location and the locations of your remote workers may have different rules and regulations in place when it comes to employing remote workers. Make sure you are aware and compliant with any applicable work permits, tax requirements, and business licenses.

In addition, it’s best to define clearly the required equipment capabilities of your remote workers – and how much your company is willing to cover. Are you paying for their internet connection and software packages only, or is there a budget for them to purchase devices?

Team organization

small team

Remote workers and telecommuters aren’t contractors; you don’t hire them one-time to work on a single specific project. Thus, even though they operate out of your office, there’s still a need for them to have access to shared tools and databases, and to be in communication with the rest of the team, whether home-based or on-site.

On a basic level, platforms such as Trello give you an idea of the kind of software capabilities required to organize a team of remote workers. Small teams may find that it suits their purposes, but as your business grows and needs become more complex, the ideal option would be having a software developed that’s tailor-fit to your company’s needs and security. You can consult with professional developers to learn more about data management software solutions and what they can do for your business.

Performance and expectations

One of the less-discussed benefits of remote working is the autonomy it affords workers. Without the rigid 9-to-5 framework or the presence of the boss looming overhead, many workers can put in more time and effort to create high-quality work at their own pace. But it’s still important to manage this autonomy and have a clear definition of hierarchy and performance measures.

Make sure there are discussions about key performance indicators (KPIs) that give both you and the employees a measuring stick for how well they are doing at their jobs. Set guidelines for hours during which communications channels are expected to be open, and the speed of response. It’s also important to have an established procedure on whom to involve in complex scenarios, and when, so that remote workers know when they can make their judgment calls.

Taking these into consideration, you can find the proper balance for your team. With the right setup, remote working can be a great productive asset to your business, while boosting the satisfaction of your workforce.