Hiring Contract Remote Workers Can Benefit a Small Business if Done Right
Hiring contractors can save your company a lot of money, but it’s important that you hire the right person and give them the necessary tools to succeed.
One way for small businesses to expand is through the use of contract remote workers. Hiring people that work from home, in a different city or even a different country, can help a small business to expand while saving money. This practice offers many benefits however, it also comes with its own unique set of problems and issues. Let’s explore the pros and cons and review some steps that small businesses can take to ensure they hire correctly and know how to monitor remote employees.
Remote workers are often contract employees that charge by the hour. One large benefit to a small business means that the business has lower operating costs. Some of the ways companies can save include:
- Not being responsible for providing health care or other benefits;
- Not having to pay for downtime or vacation time;
- Saving on office space;
- Not having to pay for the time employees may waste or spend on social media, and more.
There are some important issues that need to be considered carefully before hiring a contract remote worker. These include monitoring time, communication and connectivity issues, motivation and productivity issues. In today’s electronic world, there are many excellent tools available to businesses that can monitor and keep track of hours, deadlines and work quality. There are also tools that allow you to conduct remote meetings, enforce security and protect your privacy.
Every company should have a policy and procedure manual that spells out the rules, as well as the possible consequences for breaking the rules. This is just as important for remote workers as it is for in-house employees. Make sure your policies include company issued electronic devices such as phones and laptops. And always employ a strong security system on all devices. Make sure these policies are uniform and apply equally to all workers, contract remote or in-house employees.
If you are new to hiring remote workers, you may want to try video contacts where you can interview them face-to-face online. When hiring a remote worker there are certain qualities that you should look for that signal who will be a successful remote worker. Some examples include:
- Independent skills that tell you they can work on their own without constant supervision; Previous experience working remotely;
- The ability to function well without the social aspect of working with others; and
- The ability to communicate well and be able to take the initiative on their own.
You may want to use an outside agency to help you find and hire a remote worker. If you do decide to use an agency, be sure to check them out thoroughly before you hire them. This should help prevent you from hiring any fraudulent freelance workers.
Once you hire a remote worker, you may want to consider putting your files on the cloud. This is safe and allows you to determine who has access to your information. You can limit access to your files as needed. You will be able to control what files and information they can access through the use of passwords and other security measures.
If your worker is outside the United States, you should be aware that they are bound by the rules of the country they live in, and not the rules in the United States. Always have any contract remote workers as well as others sign a strong non-disclosure agreement (NDA) to protect your intellectual property and other business aspects. Your attorney can help you with this.
Once you hire a remote worker, give them the tools to do the job successfully. This includes necessary electronics and access to information that relates to their job. It is also a good idea to utilize a project management hub to keep track of and help to manage projects. Make sure they understand the expectations and responsibilities of the job and make them feel like they are part of the team.
Timothy A. Dimoff, CPP, president of SACS Consulting & Investigative Services, Inc., is a speaker, trainer and author and a leading authority in high-risk workplace and human resource security and crime issues. He is a Certified Protection Professional; a certified legal expert in corporate security procedures and training; a member of the Ohio and International Narcotic Associations; the Ohio and National Societies for Human Resource Managers; and the American Society for Industrial Security. He holds a B.S. in Sociology, with an emphasis in criminology, from Dennison University. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.