In this day and age, remote working has established itself as a viable option for a lot of professionals around the UK and the world.
While manual labour industries can’t usually benefit from this different way of working, there’s a calling for it in a lot of businesses which heavily rely on the use of laptops and desktop computers.
From an employee point of view, remote working provides them with a better work/life balance, enabling them to take lunch when they want, pop out to the shops during opening hours and even do the school run without working up a sweat.
In a business sense, there are a string of benefits that come with it as well.
For instance, remote workers don’t take up any space in the office, leaving onsite employees with more room.
Buying extra equipment and stationery supplies isn’t necessary either, as they are operating on their own terms in the comfort of their home or office space.
You could also argue the point that remote workers are able to get more work done, as distractions are at a minimum.
There isn’t the constant chatting with co-workers and hourly tea run to think about – or at least with the latter, it won’t take as long to do because they’d only be making one cup!
However, remote working isn’t always right for businesses or certain individuals.
It requires an employee with the right desire and mindset to work on their own accord.
To help you identify these qualities, here are a few things you need to consider before hiring a new candidate on a remote basis.
While it isn’t always necessary to have constant contact with a remote worker, it’s vital that you have the option to when you need it most.
So before you hire a remote worker, download Skype, Slack or HipChat to ensure you can get hold of your employee quickly and efficiently.
If you’re worried about them slacking off, you can always get them to check in with you every couple of hours to give you an update on their work.
However, it’s important that you’re not seen to be micromanaging them, as this can frustrate an employee and give off the impression that you don’t trust them.
Don’t be afraid to run staff meetings every morning and ask your remote workers to attend via video on Skype.
This can make them feel involved and help give them a bit more structure to their day.
When you do look for a candidate to fulfil a remote role, you should look for someone who comes across as very open and honest.
This type of working lifestyle requires trust, so if they need to tweak their hours for the day (i.e. start later, finish later), you want an employee who is going to tell you about this.
If they don’t, you might start to discover that they’re unreliable and jeopardising your business’ productivity.
Whether you invite a remote worker in for a face-to-face interview or not is entirely up to you.
However, it’s highly recommended that you carry out an initial screening via Skype.
This will give you a real indication on how the remote worker comes across and a feel for their working environment.
If there is a lot of noise or distractions around them, you might have to consider other candidates.
But if it’s tranquil and they present themselves as confident and calm, you are definitely heading in the right direction.
There are so many distractions at home, so you need a self-starter who has a can-do attitude and an environment that allows them to focus on the project in hand.
A Skype interview will also give you a small idea of how useful this remote worker is with technology and their internet connection as a whole.
Although these elements may appear meaningless from the outset, just imagine if you are trying to get hold of them when you’re on a tight schedule and their internet keeps cutting out!
Pro recruiter top tip
During a screening interview, don’t be afraid to put the remote worker on the spot. Asking unique questions can show you how they act under pressure.
Ideally, you want someone who responds positively and shows a level of commitment. Some good starting questions to test this include:
- If we offer you the job, how long do you think you’ll stay here?
- So why do you think this job would be different/better than your current job?
- What did you like or dislike about our website?
You can find more examples on how to test a candidate’s commitment in our recent blog.
Take a long look at their CV
One of the more obvious places to start when recruiting a remote worker is to check whether they are new to this whole world.
For example, have they ever worked from home before?
Or have they had previous roles or experience that require using their own initiative?
If the answer is yes to one or both of these questions, you will probably find that the candidate is capable of getting the job done, without any major fuss.
You should also look out for any mentions of software that a remote worker has used before.
Not only can this help you with your processes moving forward, but it will show you that they know what they’re doing and have the capability of communicating effectively.
Overall, if you make the right hiring decision, having a remote worker on your payroll comes with a lot of benefits.
Just make sure that your new employee comes with a level of experience of hitting deadlines on an individual basis without getting distracted.
Use the screening interview process to really find out what the candidate is like.
If you do this effectively, you’ll reap the rewards of having a remote worker.
Alternatively, you can always ask a recruitment agency like us to help you find the perfect candidate.