So You Want to Run Your Business Remotely?

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Running a business remotely is becoming more popular, especially for new start-ups and the self-employed. The advances in technology of recent years have made this possible and it is a trend that is likely to continue to grow. Then as the business grows and you need workers to help you, is it possible to still run the business remotely?

Embrace Technology

One of the biggest worries for any employer in this situation is if the employees are working the hours and completing the tasks they should be. That need not be a concern anymore. As long as everyone concerned has a good Internet connection and the right software, you will always be aware of these things. Using a cloud-based time and attendance system is a good way to achieve this. You can also set up alerts so that is someone does not sign in when you expect them to, you will be notified.

Keep In Touch With Your Employees

Studies have shown that a digital workplace can empower the digital worker and make them more productive, as long as they have the support they need.  Always keep in touch with the staff, and be there to communicate with them if they encounter a problem. Be vigilant with checking email and voicemails so that you do not miss a message from them, as from their point of view it can be very frustrating if they feel they are being ignored.

Because you are running the business remotely, does not mean the staff is not working together in one place. If you have a workplace for your workers, make sure you visit sometimes so that they are aware that you are always around.

Keeping in touch with your employees will help to keep them motivated and will encourage a team spirit. A base camp for project collaboration is a good idea, and use things such as Skype for face-to-face chats.

Interact With Your Customers

Communicating is one of the most important aspects of running a business remotely, and you should endeavor to do this with your customers as well as your employees. Interacting with them on social media, or replying to emails they send is always crucial as it makes the customer feel they matter, and helps to build trust in your brand.

Employ The Right People

This can be easier said than done because until they have actually worked for a while you will not really know how good they are at their job. When hiring new employees try to opt for people who you think will understand the demands of your business, who are honest and enthusiastic and who will support you as a remote manager.

Just a few years ago the possibility of running your entire business operation remotely was far less of an option, and would even be considered impossible by some, because of all the challenges involved. Now it is so much simpler to do, which is why so many business owners and managers are choosing this way.

3 Interview Questions For Hiring Remote Workers

Hiring onsite employees is tough enough, but when it comes to hiring remote workers don’t overcomplicate it.

Before considering to hire remotely, trust is monumental. Without it you’ll fail.

Managing people virtually shouldn’t be much different than in-person since what works face-to-face tends to work over video/phone.

Keep in mind retaining workers is costly when the wrong person is hired, so use the following three questions as a guide to weed out the amateurs and hire the best:

1. Why?

Start with a candidate’s character. Why questions get to the motivation behind an answer. You won’t be physically present to witness how someone spends their time during work, so figure out how driven, self-aware and organized they are ahead of time. Why questions hit at the core of who someone is. Asking past behavior scenarios tend to be the most popular during interviews, but past success doesn’t always translate smoothly to new endeavors. If you need more context watch this Simon Sinek video on why.

2. How?

You can have the most knowledgable person working for you, but if they don’t fit your culture you’ve made a bad hire. Without downplaying competence, style questions are a must when it comes to hiring the right people. If you’re unsure how to define your culture, stop and figure it out before hiring anyone. How questions really come down to identifying personal strengths. The best leaders in any industry are self-aware. That means generic answers on an interview just don’t cut it. As an employer you want to know how they prioritize, interact with others and communicate orally/written just to name a few. Most of a manager’s time is spent dealing with interpersonal issues, so if you’re seeing red flags when it comes to personality quirks don’t proceed. Another helpful exercise is hiring based on your company’s core values. They can be even more powerful than mission or vision statements because they are measurable in behaviors. Zappos is a good example if you need a place to start.

3. What? 

Typical interviews start here. Tell me about your last job. Describe a time you failed a task and what was your response. What is your biggest weakness? Candidates can rehearse these answers and interviewers can critique every detail. The truth is what questions don’t reveal nearly as much as “why” or “how” questions. When asking “what” questions find out: experience, industry knowledge and their decision making process. Interviews are just a preliminary phase to understanding on-the-job performance. Even the best questions can’t possibly cover future mistakes by workers. A judgment call must be made here: do you want to hire for experience (less training, higher salary) or potential (more training, lower salary)? The answer to this question comes back to your core values.

Consider this: treat all your future interviews as potentially remote hires. Not only is that the way our economy is headed, but if you can trust someone working virtually you definitely can in the office.

Hire the best. Don’t settle for less.