If you are looking to cut the costs of operating your business, or if you’re a small business owner that needs help, turning to telecommuters can reduce your bottom line. Telecommuters are people that work from home, completing assignments remotely. Utilizing telecommuters is not without its drawbacks. Here are five ways to manage your use of telecommuters effectively:
Make a Plan
If you decide to utilize telecommuters to complete some of your day-to-day tasks, you shouldn’t do so without first constructing a plan. Will you allow current employees to work from home one day a week or all five? How will you choose who gets to work from home? If you own a small business, will you require that your employee work certain hours during the day or will you simply give assignment deadlines? These are the types of things that you need to think about before you allow employees to telecommute.
Independent Contractor Versus Employee
Many small business owners choose to hire people as independent contractors to save money on taxes. If you choose to do this, you’ll need to know what constitutes an independent contractor in your state and who would be considered an employee. Typically, you may assign tasks to an independent contractor but you cannot tell them when and where they have to work. There are many distinctions between independent contractors and employees that you should become aware of, including the legalities of utilizing one or the other.
Before you hire or allow anyone to work from home, make sure that they are trustworthy. You don’t want someone working from home for you who spends their day grouting the tub, mowing the lawn and taking the kids to the zoo. While you can’t be sure of how anyone will behave from their home office, you shouldn’t hire anyone that doesn’t inspire trust. You may want to conduct a criminal background check and contact previous employers at a minimum. Additionally, you may want to hire the person on a temporary basis to make sure that the fit is right for you both.
Online File Sharing
If you haven’t yet familiarized yourself with online file sharing, do so immediately. By utilizing online file sharing, you and your employee can share information securely and collaborate without the need for a physical meeting place. Look for an online file sharing site that will grow with you as your business takes off and one that allows you to password protect your files. You will have to pay a monthly or yearly fee for membership, but the fee is well worth the security the site will offer.
Decide how often you expect to communicate with your telecommuter, whether its asking them to check in or calling them for status reports. You should also be very clear on how you expect to communicate with your worker. Will you establish a weekly conference call? Will you chat on an instant messaging service during business hours? Establishing a line of communication is important for both yourself and your employee if you have hopes of the relationship being a positive one.
Many business owners find it beneficial to hire telecommuters. There’s a cost-savings that comes with hiring someone to work out of their home and an often increased level of productivity. If you decide to utilize the services of telecommuters, following the five tips above will ensure that the working relationship is both positive and productive.