COVID-19 has restructured work environments for many organizations. Remote work, or telecommuting, is becoming a frequent alternative to employment in a typical office.  In some instances, it is favored by employees aside from pandemic related reasons, including the elimination of commuting time and savings of transportation costs.

Yet remote work isn't only a benefit to workers.

Businesses that build a telecommuting team can save money on office expenses like equipment, furniture, and office rental.

Telecommuters can be more productive, too.

What jobs can remote workers do?

You can find a remote worker to complete almost any task for your business from personal assisting to overseeing your books. Of course, remote staff may not be possible for every position within an organization.

However, there are many jobs where full-time, part-time, or temporary remote office staff could be considered including positions in marketing, customer service, website maintenance, or sales.

Hiring quality remote workers.

Telecommuting is not for everyone; it takes the right person who exudes commitment, determination, and a solid understanding of the work tasks to fulfill the role professionally. Before you take the leap and integrate remote workers into your business, here is how to ensure you build the most effective remote office team.

Create a communication strategy.

Communication is the greatest barrier to success when you hire remote workers. Without the right communication check points, your remote working initiative is a guaranteed fail. Before you start the hiring process, construct your communication strategy and have a clear set of expectations for the projects planned.

For example, you could require workers to check in through phone or video chat once a day or week. Or you could ask them to send you an email at the end of each workday detailing their accomplishments towards your project goals.

After you've determined your strategy, include the communication requirements and expectations within your job advertisement in order to attract applicants that can fulfill your needs.

Compile remote work resources.

Before hiring a remote worker, having an understanding of each resource they'll need for the job is essential. Without the right resources, remote workers will be less effective at their job - costing you money, time and stress.

Compile a list of resources that your remote worker will need such as access to customer service databases, website programs, or accounting software. Then ensure they will have the capability to log on to them remotely.

Find qualified remote workers.

There are many online businesses attempting to cash in on the popularity of remote work. Stick to the most well-known remote worker job boards to find the right candidates.

Find a job board where you can post jobs locally, regionally, nationally, or internationally. There are many free platforms out there with databases including thousands of prequalified telecommuters.

Interview Your Candidates  

Just like any other employee, remote workers should be interviewed. Given the current environment, many employers are scheduling interviews through a video call. Here are a few important questions you may consider asking a remote worker before hiring them:

1. Tell me about your work environment.

2. How do you avoid distractions at home?

3. Have you done remote work before?

4. How do you like to communicate?

5. What do you like most and least about working from home?

6. What are your concerns about working for this team as a telecommuter?

Final word.

Just like any new approach to staffing, introducing remote workers into your business may come with challenges until you become more familiar with the process. However, the result of having a satisfied employee working from home has the potential to save an organization money and time.

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Disclaimer: Please note that this is not all-inclusive. Our guidance is designed only to give general information on the issues actually covered. It is not intended to be a comprehensive summary of all laws which may be applicable to your situation, treat exhaustively the subjects covered, provide legal advice, or render a legal opinion. Consult your own legal advisor regarding the specific application of the information to your own plan.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in October 2014 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.