Checklist: Are You Ready for a Remote Position?

As a manager or business owner there are times when it is difficult to find the right person locally for a role. Other times the business can’t afford to bring in the right person for the job. This leaves them in a tough position. They have the desire to grow but are unable to follow the traditional model of bringing all employees onsite. But in today’s technology focused world the need to follow the traditional model is becoming less and less necessary. I have spent most of my career in jobs that, 80% of the time, did not need me to be in person for the work to be completed. Additionally, I was often more productive when I wasn’t in the office being distracted by my friends and coworkers. Since I have made the switch to being a strategic consultant who works from home, I have become more productive and able to take on more work than I previously thought possible. Not all businesses can benefit from a remote position / contract worker, but below is a checklist that you can use to see if you may be able to reap some of the benefits that modern technology allows for businesses.

  • Does 60-80% of the work require working on a computer?

Employees are spending more and more time working at a computer, a recent study estimated the average employee spends 1700 in front of a screen a year. (https://www.studyfinds.org/office-worker-1700-hours-computer-screen/) While this stat may show a problem for our health, this is the reality of work today. Many employees can do all of their work from a computer, access to a phone, and a video collaboration tool. The need to be in person is limited for hands-on-meetings and official occasions.

  • Can meetings be done over the phone or with a video chat collaboration tool?

A lot of people are against using video collaboration tools, but when most of our work is done on a computer can offer several benefits.  It is often useful to share your screen while working through issues together which diminishes the need to be in person for the meeting. Not every meeting can be done virtually, but when projects are defined, tasks are clearly laid out, and employees are confident in their roles, 90% of the meetings can easily be done on a video collaboration tool and cut out a lot of wasted time.  

  • Are tasks clearly defined and job descriptions in place for employees?

Do your employees need you to help them all the time? Or do your employees generally spend most of their time heads down, only coming up for occasional assistance? Do your employees feel confident enough to make basic decisions and have the ability to stay focused and on task even when you aren’t around? If you answered yes to the last two questions I would strongly consider offering the ability to work remote to your employees. It can even be a benefit that many employees are willing to sacrifice some compensation for.

  • Do you have a project manager and project management software inplace to to track work?

Having an internal project management software inplace can provide incredible amounts of organization and value to your team. While the transition can be painful, once you get them working right for your team they can streamline communication and the speed to which work can be tackled. While many organizations may not be able to hire a project manager internally, bringing in a remote contract worker to help coordinate your team, projects, and tasks can take pressure of you and provide process that you don’t have the time to implement.

  • Is there a high level of trust amongst your team?

Companies that foster a strong culture and level of trust often already are working pretty independently. This makes them strong candidates for bringing in remote workers or transitioning positions to remote being an option. In the past I have had managers encourage me to make decisions and trust myself, allowing me to do my work with confidence. This helped me be very efficient and self directed.

  • Is most of your work relatively time flexible?

Often work needs to be done by a due date, but that due date is days or weeks out. In these situations there is a lot of flexibility of when the work actually needs to be done in the day. This is often the case at work, your manager comes to you in the morning with a new deliverable, but she doesn’t expect you to complete it until tomorrow or the next day. That deliverable could just as easily have been sent of by email to a remote worker, they could get to it on their own time that day, and get it back to you the next day. The biggest thing with this type of work is you need to invest the time in creating a process, defining tasks and expectations. If you can do that and define your timeline for completion, many of your tasks can be easily handled by a remote worker.

Not sure about next steps? Visit the Propell3r contact page and set an appointment. We will help to evaluate your situation and prepare a tactical plan to move forward.

Be sure to check out more of our blogs and listen to our podcast, Prop3l, where we talk about our blogs and interview business owners, professionals, and influencers about their businesses and lives!


Resources:

https://www.inc.com/adam-heitzman/remote-work-is-it-good-or-bad-for-business.html


https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesfinancecouncil/2017/09/27/seven-business-benefits-of-having-remote-employees/#4a99e4f6d1d5

Ben Record