Do you have anxiety about remote workers? Does it feel riskier because you can’t walk down the hall and see what they’re doing? That’s a common worry, but it might be misplaced. Unless you continually monitor your employees with cameras and network tracking software, you’re still extending a high level of trust, regardless of their location. The landscape is changing. Businesses are hiring remote workers now more than ever. In fact, Gallup’s Worker and Education Poll from August 2015 says the number of telecommuters is four times higher than twenty years ago. And it’s still climbing. Clearly there is a benefit to both employers and employees. If you’re hiring telecommuters, one key skill to keep in mind in communication. It seems obvious, but communication really is a group of skills that range from writing simple emails to representation of the company culture. There are nuances to be understood by both sides. Looking for specific examples to help? Check these out.
Writing in a simple, straightforward style. Of course writing is the first skill that comes to mind. It’s likely the most used by remote workers. The standards of spelling, grammar, and etiquette all apply. Making yourself understood in writing avoids confusion and time-wasting Q&A sessions.
They understand the limits of writing. Sometimes even a long, detailed email still doesn’t get the message across in the best way. The direct nature of business writing can also result in misinterpretation of tone or intentions. If it’s a quick question, maybe a chat session will do. Or if neither medium is best, they aren’t afraid to pick up the phone or start up a video chat. Once the talk is done, though, they’ll send a written follow up summarizing the conversation.
They treat their home office like it’s your office. Communication extends to professional presence. Whether on video conferencing or an in-person appearance, remote workers understand that they’re representing their company. They’ll take the extra time to adhere to corporate dress codes when necessary, even if it’s just for a quick appearance via webcam. Remote workers who are productive also tend to be organized and work during the same hours as your in-house employees. They know that being miles away doesn’t automatically grant them more scheduling flexibility. If they have an appointment, they’ll notify supervisors and keep their calendar up to date. In other words, if you only judge by email, chat, and work calendars, you’ll have trouble telling the difference between the remote and in-house workers.
They have an entrepreneurial spirit. This doesn’t mean they’re going to run off and start their own business. It does mean they have the desire to improve workflows at all levels, learn new skills, speak their mind. You don’t need to hire someone who is already familiar with the remote tools you have, but you do want someone willing to put in the work to become a power user of those tools.
Same attitude, different place. When it comes down to getting results, remote workers are no different from their local counterparts. The key is to hire people who excel in written communication and other professional soft skills, and who are team players at their core. The lower rent and utilities payments aren’t the only thing your business gains. Your biggest benefits will come from intelligent, capable employees whose presence is unmistakable no matter their location.
RAY ALLEN was founded in Chicago and also has an office in Denver. We have many great remote team members in RAY ALLEN and will continue to consider remote team members for specific opportunities. Please check out our careers page for more information.
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