Working from home is one the top perks in today’s extremely competitive job market. According to Indeed.com, candidates searched for jobs using the term “Remote” increased 85% in two years.
As someone who works with job seekers often, I can tell you the requests for remote or virtual opportunities are more and more frequent. And why not, the employee gets the flexibility to stay home and save money on gasoline, clothes, food, and other work-related expenses while earning a stable paycheck with benefits and having the ability to handle other matters.
The employer benefits from remote workers as well, for instance, a case study developed by Nicholas Bloom and graduate student James Liang found that employees who worked from home were 13.5% more productive than the ones in the office. In addition to increased productivity, employers can save money on office space and equipment (desks, chairs, and cubicles), energy costs, food, time off, and employers can save lots of money on healthcare and compensation. Oh yes, there are plenty of workers who will sacrifice a few thousand dollars in pay just so they can work from home. So, everybody wins, right? Well, not so fast.
In the interest of full transparency, I work from home and when I tell others they say things like, “I am so jealous” or “You are so lucky”. Working from home is not as easy as one might think. At the end of the day, the work STILL has to be done properly and on time – remote work does not absolve you of your responsibilities. The pressure on remote workers to meet deadlines is the same as workers who go into the office each day. And, for employers, selecting the wrong person to be on your remote staff is just as damaging and costly as any other poor hiring decision.
To help you figure out if a remote staff is best for you, here are some desirable skills and qualifications to help you hire a remote staff in an efficient and productive way.
It is going to be vital that your remote team can communicate clearly and effectively. Make sure to create assessments to test for strong literacy and communications skills because you will need someone who can exchange information and ideas with the team.
As in planning and arranging. An efficient remote worker has to know how to schedule, plan, prioritize, coordinate and self-manage their workload. You should test and screen for someone who is very organized and has no problem developing timelines and meeting deadlines
Finding someone who has worked from home previously is a plus. Anyone who has worked from home before understands the process and will likely be a successful addition to the team.
Being detailed oriented is something you should expect from all of your employees and remote employees are no different. You can test an employee’s eye for detail by administering writing tests as part of the assessment phase.
Although there are virtual monitoring and accountability systems to help you keep track of remote workers time and work status, most of you will not be able to physically monitor them – and you should not have to. It will save you a lot of time and trouble if you can find someone who is accountable, dependable, professional, trustworthy and a self-starter.
Not to be confused with trustworthy, as stated earlier, a majority of workers would like to work from home but some people are just not cut out for it. So, you want to find those who truly need the flexibility of a work from home position, such as a student, or someone who has to take care of ailing parents. Basically, someone who will not take the position for granted and really appreciate the opportunity.
Technology is the guiding force behind the rise of remote work options. With video conferencing, Facetime, Skype, Slack, Facebook for Work, VPNs and countless other software and devices that connect us all, we can now work from anywhere. Remote workers must have modern technology with updated systems, internet access, and an understanding of tech.
How do you test for these things, especially, “worthiness”?
eSkill can create custom assessments and interview questions which will help you determine if the applicant fits your remote staffing needs. You can download here an additional resource, our infographic about how to hire freelancers in a compliant and effective way.
Chris Fields is an HR professional and expert resume writer with more than 13 years of experience as a former practitioner and current HR consultant. He is the curator of two websites: CostofWork.com and ResumeCrusade.com , and contributes HR-focused content to many others, including PerformanceICreate.com and SmartRecruiters.com . He has been listed by the Huffington Post as one of the “Top 100 Most Social Human Resources Experts to Follow on Twitter”, one of the “Top 40 under 40” by the HR Blogger Network, one of the “25 Must-Read HR Blogs in 2013”, and also featured on Oprah.com. He is very active with the Society of Human Resource Management, working closely with conference directors, communication chairs, and social media teams from Illinois, Oklahoma, and Tennessee to develop social strategies to engage attendees and enhance their conference experience. Chris earned his master’s degree in Labor and Human Resources from Ohio State University. In 2005, he moved back to his hometown of Memphis, TN, where he has developed a reputation for helping his clients create HR strategies, and individuals master the tough economic challenges of the South.