For many businesses, an office-based team just isn’t necessary. It costs a lot of money and means the business often misses out on the best people for the job. Flexible businesses that build successful teams often include the use of a remote virtual assistant as well as other remote and home workers. So could this model work for you?
The benefits of a remote team
There’s pretty much no office job that can’t be done remotely. From remote admin jobs like telephone answering and diary management to a remote marketing manager or accountant, all these jobs can be done by experienced, professional and reliable people without it costing you a fortune. So what are the benefits?
- Lower overheads – you don’t have to provide office space, computers, furniture, heating, insurance or lighting for remote workers. And because they are often self-employed or belong to an agency, you don’t have to pay National Insurance contributions or pension contributions either. So you get the best people but you keep your costs down.
- Reduce recruitment costs – you can often find specialists like, for example, a remote bookkeeper, by recommendation, networking or searching online. No need for expensive recruitment agencies or adverts – again, another great way of keeping your costs down.
- Increased productivity – it’s often the case that remote workers are more productive. That’s because they are often motivated by different things to a full-time employee. For example, if you hire a self-employed remote office assistant, he or she is likely to have more than one client. That means they will have to be extremely organised, and have processes in place that allow them to service their clients very efficiently. You get the benefit of this efficiency without having to pay for any of the downtime.
Bringing remote workers on board
Depending on the number of hours per week you need from each member of your remote team, you may be more or less involved with their day-to-day tasks. However, it’s still important that you define your job roles clearly, communicate and agree them with your remote worker and have a good quality contract that sets out rights, expectations and responsibilities for both parties.
Managing a remote workforce is a different challenge to running an in-house team. So whether you are building a big team for a particular project, or just need a resource like a remote executive assistant, you’ll need to make sure that you have clear lines of communication, an understanding of what needs to be referred back to you before any action is taken, and a good job description.
You’ll also need to put in place a regular review process so that you can be sure that both of you are happy with the way things are working, and to make any changes so that the work is handled efficiently and effectively. You might want to arrange regular meetings, either in person or on Skype, that allow you to catch up properly, address any issues and make sure everything is going in the right direction. This is your responsibility as an employer, helping your remote workers to feel part of the business and that their opinions and feedback count.
How to get started
If you think the financial and productivity benefits of a remote worker – or a remote team – will work for your business, you need to take a strategic approach. This will help to ensure that you hire the best people for the job, with the right attitude and skills to be able to manage their workload. Remote working often goes wrong when people are unable to prioritise tasks, meet deadlines or take the work seriously. You need to:
- Clearly define the job roles you need, and the tasks that they will cover
- Define the skills that are needed to carry out each role effectively
- Decide the number of hours per week or month that are needed to do the role
- Set a budget based on your research of remote worker costs. Remember that these will vary depending on the tasks you need and the qualifications and experience required to do them
- Be clear about the attitude and personality type you need, so that your remote hires are good for the business.
This exercise will put you in a much better place to go out and talk to a range of remote suppliers to see what will work best for your business. It could be a single agency that offers a range of remote virtual assistant skills, or you may hire on an individual basis. However you choose to work it, this is a modern, flexible and affordable way to scale up your business team successfully.
If you’re ready to expand your team, but not ready to recruit permanent staff, why not call us on 0800 994 9016 or use our contact form in the menu above to find out how we can help?