When working remotely, there are a variety of challenges to consider, particularly in terms of remote hiring. Finding the right people to fill those important roles is critical to a company’s success and survival; now imagine doing it all on your laptop.
While remote hiring has its challenges, by now we can all agree that remote-first companies can work. With a little planning and intention, it’s entirely possible to remain productive, connected and have positive relationships with your remote team.
Imagine not being limited to hiring employees near your location. If you work in a far-flung area or city, finding top talent to come onboard might be a bit tricky. While there are numerous advantages to hiring a remote team, one of the main benefits is having access to global top talent. However, it’s not as easy as it sounds. Like other things, hiring a remote team does come with its own share of challenges. Today we’ll be examining each of these challenges and provide a few suggestions on how to overcome them.
There are a lot of components that fall under the logistics category, but they can generally be divided into two sub-categories: workplace issues and legal requirements.
Challenges that fall under workplace issues include things like having access to a stable internet connection and a laptop or computer. If the nature of the job requires more equipment, this can also be a challenge depending on what your employees may or may not have at their disposal. Even having a decent workspace can be challenging for some employees, depending on their current living situations.
Resolving workplace issues will depend on how much you’re willing to do. If you really want to hire someone because you think they would be worth the extra effort it would take to provide them with access to wifi and a computer, then you would probably not care too much about shouldering the extra cost. What most employers do is they include criteria such as access to a stable internet connection and a computer as requirements when hiring to eliminate the potential candidates who do not meet these conditions.
The second logistical challenge are the legal requirements attached to hiring remote employees. Things like paperwork, taxes, and benefits can quickly turn into a headache, especially if you’re dealing with remote workers from different parts of the world.
Luckily, Professional Employer Organizations (PEOs) like Multiplier make complying with local labor laws and international payroll easy. You won’t need to worry about establishing a local entity or have to figure out what the local labor laws require you to provide your employees with. Simply arrange everything you need with a click online, and Multiplier will take care of the rest.
Even though the idea of managing a global team may sound appealing, the reality is quite different. You may encounter challenges during onboarding and training — especially if you’ve never met face to face — scheduling meetings because of time zone differences, as well as tracking productivity.
At this point (this is only point #2!), you may be thinking that it might not be worth it to hire a remote team. With all these obstacles in the way, is it even worth it? Think of it this way: You know the technological world we live in that allows us to hire a remote team? It’s also that same technological world that provides us with the solutions to our problems in the form of apps and tools.
You can use management tools like Asana and monday.com to integrate an onboarding strategy before executing it over Zoom or Google Hangouts. For scheduling differences, you can check out the Happy Tools app and other similar tools. If you’re worried about tracking productivity, you’ve got quite the array of tools to choose from, including Time Doctor, Toggl, Hubstaff, and more.
When it comes to management tools, there is a whole host of choices available for you. It’s just a matter of figuring out the issue and finding the perfect tool to help you solve it.
Who Is An Independent Contractor?
Unlike a full-time employee, an independent contractor operates like a separate business entity. They will provide you a service, and you’ll have to pay the contractor. Before you begin the project, you’ll have to agree on the details and payment and then enter into a contract with them.
After that, you can expect your contractor to:
- Invoice you and get paid according to the agreement signed. Generally, this is done at the completion of the project.
- Work based on a project-by-project basis or a short-term contract
- Provide all equipment and supplies needed for the requested service
- Pay the taxes on the payment made by you. This includes local, state, federal, social security, and even health insurance.
In simple words, an independent contractor is an employee that works for you but is independent of your company or business. After the project is completed, the relationship is terminated.
3. Communication and Collaboration
Unlike an in-house team that is able to easily communicate and collaborate when in the office, a remote team comes at a disadvantage because of the physical distance and boundaries. Reaching out to a colleague isn’t simply a verbal ‘hello’ across your desk now, and requires a few more steps. Another challenge in communication includes culture and language barriers, especially if your team is made up of people from all over the world.
How do you overcome this? Foster an environment of open communication by using instant messaging tools like Slack or Whatsapp instead of email threads. You can also have daily or weekly video calls with your team to get them comfortable speaking with one another, encourage constant communication, and praise volunteers who speak up.
Communication, collaboration, and culture differences aren’t things you can just resolve overnight. It takes a dedicated resolve for communication as well as time and effort on everyone’s part.
Like communication challenges, engagement challenges are more apparent in remote workers because of the nature of their work. Engaging remote employees isn’t as simple as treating the whole team to lunch or planning an after hours office party. You can encounter issues of low morale, loneliness due to lack of human interaction, and even lack of trust.
However, all it takes is a bit of creativity, some input from your remote team, and the will to execute your plans. Yes, your remote team will have to engage virtually, but aim to make it fun for everyone. Again, you can utilize the numerous technological tools at your disposal.
Instead of having a virtual lunch where you just watch each other chew behind the screen, opt for online, multiplayer games and platforms such as Psych!, Jackbox, and Spyfall. You can also schedule one-on-one ‘coffee breaks’ with different team members to have the whole team get to know each other.
If you run out of ideas for engagement, ask your team to chip in some ideas or better yet, have different team members plan a monthly team bonding activity every month. This also diversifies your engagement activities and gets everyone involved not just in the actual event itself, but the planning and execution of it as well.
5. Company Culture
Fostering company culture within your remote team is closely tied to your employees’ communication and engagement. It may be harder to create the company culture you envision when your employees are spread around the globe — that’s not to say that you can’t do anything about it.
First, take a look at your company culture. Is it in line with your current remote team? Sometimes what you envision to be your company culture at the beginning is slanted towards an in-house team and just won’t work out with your current team of remote workers. So if you plan on maintaining a majority of remote workers as your employees, you might want to reconsider your company culture to make it more suitable for your remote team.
Second, company culture always starts from the top. Yes, you can have a bulletin or a memo about your company culture, but in the end, your actions will speak louder than words. If you yourself as the CEO, manager, or supervisor cannot embody your company’s culture and values, how can you expect your teammates to exemplify them as well?
6. Work-Life Balance
Another main challenge that remote teams experience is work-life balance. This can go two ways. One, is that remote workers — because they are always in the ‘office’ so to speak — may find it difficult to ‘turn off’ and rest, resulting in more hours of work. The second issue comes in the form of distractions. For example, if your remote employee is a parent working from home, that will undoubtedly mean distractions galore. So how do you manage?
For the first scenario, you can set office hours. Just like an in-house team works from 9–5, your remote team can also set scheduled hours of work. (That means no communication, emails, and last-minute calls outside of the set office hours.) Notwithstanding time differences and flexibility, having set office hours can force your hardworking employees to turn off when they have to. If set office hours won’t work for your team, encourage mini breaks in between work. It can be a 5–10 minute break for every 30 hours of work done, just to give your team some time to walk around the room, stretch, or maybe grab a snack to feel more refreshed.
Solutions for the second scenario will really depend on your employees. Although there are a few suggestions that you can make such as having a dedicated workspace, using productivity apps like Forest and StayFocusd that force users away from digital distractions, establishing a routine, and communicating and setting expectations with family, friends, and even housemates.
Despite these challenges, you cannot undervalue the advantages of hiring a remote team. (Even an in-house team will have its own share of challenges.) The key to overcoming these challenges is simply a matter of seeking solutions, finding the right tools, and communicating with your team.
Learn more about how you can Use Multiplier to overcome some of the challenges you may encounter when hiring a remote team. You can visit our website or contact us