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7 Important Tips for Leading a Remote Team
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Why Drupal Is Ideal For E-Commerce?
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Top 10 Places to Hire Remote Employees
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How to Communicate Effectively with Your Virtual Team
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Why Your Best Remote Hire is the Next One
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Why Remote Employees Perform Better?
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Four Different Ways to Hire Your Remote Employees
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How to Motivate Your Virtual Employees
9
2 Minute Guide to Outsourcing like a Pro
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How to be a Professional Remote Employer

7 Important Tips for Leading a Remote Team

Employees are the most crucial part of any business or enterprise. If you have a team with good employees, you will have an edge over your competitors due to increased productivity. Leading your employees through the daily business operations requires you to put in the extra effort. Leading a team of remote employees can have its own set of challenges.

The work environment today grants employees the freedom to work from anywhere in the world due to the presence of the internet and computers. They don’t have to be present at a physical location to work.  There are many benefits to having a virtual team of employees working remotely.

The most crucial advantage is that you can hire talented candidates from across the globe, which contributes to taking productivity to the next level for you. You can bring in innovative ideas by hiring virtual employees and save the cost of maintaining an expensive infrastructure. Although there are many benefits of hiring virtual employees, there is one area that can cause concern – leading a virtual team can be tough. This problem is not insurmountable and can be solved if you follow certain tips. Here are seven tips that will help you to manage and lead a virtual team of employees like a pro.

Hire with Care

When you hire a virtual employee, you have to make sure that you hire the right candidate for the job. You must remember that not everyone can tackle the task of working alone. Although you and other virtual employees may be in contact, there are certain times when individual decision-making might be required. There are people who tend to be inclined to seek help from coworkers or seniors when put in that position. Remote workplaces are generally less social than physical ones and it is difficult to be available to the employee all the time. That is why it is important that you choose candidates who fit all the criteria of the job.  

Set Expectations

When your employee is working via a remote location, it is difficult to keep track of who is doing what amount of work. There is always a fear that keeps you wondering whether your employees are working well or abusing the privilege of work from a remote location. Productivity is the most important factor to consider when hiring regular or virtual employees. To maintain the right levels of productivity you must set expectations that are clearly communicated in a remote workplace model.

You can draw the daily output requirements, the time within which the employee should be available to you and other employees and team goals. This will act as a guideline for employees and will also keep a check on their output. If you have hired the right set of people, setting expectations will give you a thriving team that enjoys the privilege of working from home, but does not misuse it.

Use Technology

Communication and connection are the key to maintaining a successful virtual team. There are many technological tools that help you to connect and communicate with your employees and allow the employees to be in touch with each other.  There are tools that allow you to manage tasks and projects.  You can use tools like calendar, time manager, time zone scheduler, file storage, human resource management, etc to increase productivity.  It’s important to take the initiative to encourage your employees to use these tools as well.

Promote Voice Calling

While text messages and emails are formal and good ways of communication, they are often not easily understood and lack tone. By using voice calling on a regular basis, it will be easier to ensure that the entire team is on the same platform.

Video Meetings

Video meetings will help the entire team to connect with each other. You should encourage video meetings not only with yourself but also among other employees in your absence. As everyone is in remote locations, video calling is a better way to promote a sense of togetherness.

Deeper Bonds

Virtual employees want the privilege of working from remote locations and they often want more warm and friendly bonding than the regular working setup. You must catch up on what is happening in the employee’s life. Try to keep a more relaxed relationship with your employees. This develops a deeper sense of job satisfaction. Virtual employees enjoy a good balance between work and life. You can help them achieve that by adopting policies that encourage work-life balance rather than focusing only on your own profit.

Respect and Flexibility

Your employees might belong to different countries, cultures, and mindsets. Make sure you respect them and have a flexible attitude towards them.

These are some of the tips that will help you lead a team of virtual employees and may even help resolve conflicts or problems before they even arise.

Why Drupal Is Ideal For E-Commerce?

One of the most flexible CMS platforms out there is Drupal. As Drupal Commerce is integrated with Drupal, it has become difficult for other dedicated e-commerce platforms such as Prestashop or Magento to beat it. You can find thousands of websites that have been built using Drupal Commerce.  There are, of course, various Content Management Systems for e-commerce, but people are more interested in using Drupal.

The main purpose of Drupal Commerce is to develop a specification that will help in guiding the e-commerce development on Drupal. They offer a rich variety of modules that can build world class e-commerce websites. This open source can help you in creating blogs, forums, intranets, photo galleries, review websites, new aggregators, wikis, social networks and CRM. Drupal can convert your dreams into reality.

Here are some awesome reasons why you should use Drupal Commerce for your new e-commerce development:

Free For All

In the Drupal world, more than 14,000 free modules are available. There is nothing you have to pay for, which is unlike WordPress and Magento. Moreover, the community is excellent at supporting these modules with improvements and patches. The Drupal community is considered to be one of the most devoted and cohesive communities.

Easy and Uncomplicated Way of Coordinating

Since you only have to handle and work with one system, the CRO (Conversion Rate Optimisation), SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), as well as web analytics, become much easier. You don’t even need to coordinate between two different platforms.

Easy To Customise

You can create pages and blocks within the pages with the Views module, which is a type of query builder. You can also customize modules easily.

Maintenance

Since there is only one set of tools that you need to learn, it becomes very easy for you to manage and maintain a Drupal Commerce site.

Order Management Tools

The order management tools of Drupal Commerce are a part of the same administration toolset that is found in the CMS. This enables you to not only view, manage and update on the websites but also lets you send update notifications through the website.

Integration

Via a RESTful API, Drupal can integrate with external systems. This means, with third-party systems, you can extend or complement the functionality that is found in Drupal and Drupal Commerce. Also, with Drupal’s Feeds module, you can import content from external systems.

Synchronization

Compared to a two-platform system, it takes far less time to develop. You aren’t required to formally integrate between two different systems.

Adaptation

Do you want a CMS that can adapt with your business? Drupal Commerce is just what you want. it will always be adaptable, as your business grows and explores new models. This is important, as most of your site is built by configuring interfaces and modules and the layout of your site and your business logic can change anytime.

Awesome Features

Drupal Commerce offers amazing features. Features such as a complete product administration, shopping cart and checkout form. Along with various other additional e-commerce features, it supports multilingual and multi-currency.

If you ask me, Drupal is a perfect platform to build an e-commerce website. I feel it can aid in the growth of your business. Your customers can find your e-commerce site with ease and it will enhance their shopping experience. With thousands of free plugins available, you get the power to leverage more features and functions into your website.

Top 10 Places to Hire Remote Employees

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Working remotely continues to gain popularity year after year. Great workers can now work wherever they are in the world without the need to be in the same office. Here are just a few of the many great websites dedicated to connecting interested businesses with willing remote employees.

1. Freelancer.com

This is the hub for freelancers looking for work and the companies that want to hire them. Employers can even search for local workers if they want them to come into the office to complete their tasks. The services offered from freelancers cover a wide variety of professions, ranging from design work like editing videos and creating web banners to basic coding and even translation. With almost 20 million users and over 9 million job postings, businesses are often able to find someone with the skills they need. Pricing varies based on what kind of job needs to be done; website development starts from $99, for example.

2. Upwork.com

Upwork has a broad spectrum of skillsets and price points. Animators, writers, illustrators, programmers specializing in every programming language, and even administrators and finance professionals are just a few clicks away. There are three models for hiring, beginning with basic access to all of the potential employees within their network. The next tier gives businesses the added benefit of pre-screenings conducted by Upwork. They will select the workers most qualified for the job at hand. The Upwork staff works with the client every step of the way in the final tier. In addition to finding the best freelancers, they will train them for the client as well. One issue is that once the job listing has been posted, the company will be bombarded with responses and it can be difficult to know what choice is the right one. The typical writing project costs about $30 / hour and paying for work on an iOS app will be in the ballpark of $40 / hour.

3. Outsource Development Centers – Capital Numbers, Virtual Employee

In addition to hiring freelancers within the country, there are plenty of companies based overseas that will help complete projects. Rather than a large group of individual freelancers from all around the world, outsource development centers have a centralized staff within their facility available for hire. These teams have the added benefit of being backed by an entire company as opposed to freelancers, who are completely on their own. Businesses can hire entire scalable staff, so the right number of people with the right skill sets are working on the project at hand. Starting at just $10 per hour, Capital Numbers provides one or more of over 275 in-house employees. They pride themselves on being cohesive and synergistic, coming together to complete any task that comes their way. Each staff is supervised and works within typical business hours and is completely committed to finishing the client’s job until they are satisfied with the result. Despite the distance, Clients can maintain direct contact with their team at all times to guarantee that their project is made exactly how they want it.

4. Guru.com

With over a million and a half people ready to begin working, Guru is a great option for finding remote employees. Interested businesses will be able to view any freelancers previous work, ensuring that they have a great track record and have worked on plenty of other projects. Additionally, they can post their job listings as well as choose which applicant best fits the position. Collaboration is easy with Guru’s Work Room. Companies will be able to set deadlines and share files with their freelancers, all within Guru’s website. The freelancer is paid only when the client is completely satisfied with the work. As for pricing, programming jobs begin at $65 / hour, $25 / hour for big data work, and web programming will be $18 / hour. Businesses should keep in mind that freelance work can be inconsistent and their results may vary.

5. Flexjobs

Flexjobs appeals to their workers with the allure of working without the nuisance of having to commute. People from all professions come to the site looking for part-time and freelance work. Over 4,000 different companies come to Flexjobs in search of available remote workers. Each job request will be personally screened by a Flexjobs employee to ensure that each project is matched with the best person for the job.

6. Toptal.com

The main draw of Toptal is the high standard they use for selecting their freelancers. Only the top 3% of their applicants are accepted to be a part of their program, making sure that interested companies hire the best possible people for the job. Toptal is proud to showcase their members right from their website. After providing Toptal with their specific needs, they will let them know when they find freelancers who can start working immediately, when they begin screening candidates, or if they were unable to find anyone that fit the qualifications. Even if this does happen, Toptal promises to search tirelessly for someone who will fit the bill. Toptal is a little on the spendy side, but a two week free trial is sure to draw in plenty of interested companies.

7. Craigslist

Although not as professional as the other sites on this list, it’s still possible to find good workers through their service. Craigslist merely provides a way for workers to post their services and is not liable for any possible incursions. Companies looking to hire will need to be careful about hiring freelancers without doing so through an agency. They will need to do all of the typical tasks involved with interviewing on their time to ensure they’re bringing on the most trustworthy person for the job. Hiring from Craigslist is hit or miss; the quality of the work could be outstanding, but it could just as easily be less than ideal.On a positive note, by not going through a freelance website, there won’t be any overhead fees.

8. Project4Hire.com

Similar to Guru, Projects4Hire allows freelancers and businesses to post their requests for work or jobs they need to have completed, respectively. Posting is completely free for both parties and Projects4Hire only needs to be paid if a job is accepted. Freelancers give bids for how much their services will cost, so it’s up to the company to decide how much they’re willing to pay for what they need to have completed. It’s a straight-forward, no-nonsense approach to connecting clients with freelancers looking to flesh out their resumes. Because every job is based on a bid, there is no consistent price for each job posted.

9. Workmarket

Workmarket allows businesses to build their freelancer team by creating dedicated talent pools. The automated screening process will show the most qualified workers and will even include a background check and a drug test in some cases. Workmarket lets businesses manage all of their remote workers from a single dashboard. The freelancer can be rated based on their work so other companies will know their level of skill.

10. Distant Job

This site will evaluate what kind of worker a business needs based on the description of the job provided. From there, they will determine who within their team is best suited for the job at hand and then proactively hand the reins over to the company, who will then interview all of the best candidates. Distant Job also boasts that it is not bound by boundaries; there are people all around the world within their company, providing a cheaper endeavor than hiring locally.

There are no shortage of places to hire remote employees nowadays. Hiring someone from outside the company can be a daunting task, but these websites are sure to make it easier for everyone involved.

How to Communicate Effectively with Your Virtual Team

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One of the crucial elements for the efficient working of your business is certainly communication. You need to convey instructions and feedback to your team and in turn, you’ll need to receive regular updates on the tasks they are working on and have completed. Communicating with in-house workers is not an issue since they are located within your office complex. However, when you’re working with remote hires you need to ensure that you have some kind of system in place so you’re able to touch base with them from time to time. This factor can present something of a challenge when you’re working with freelancers based in different time zones across the world. However, technology can help you overcome this challenge. Here are some useful tools to implement.

Set up Fixed Times for Interaction

Work out a fixed time of the day when it is convenient for you and the remote hire. Use chat features for discussions on the tasks for the next day and the projects under progress. You could also use direct calls and emails. While they may have different working hours, you can always designate a specific hour when they’re working and can coordinate with other members of the team. If you need to issue instructions outside of the designated hours, you always have the option of sending emails. You might also want to set up a system by which you know that the emails have been received. For instance, insist on acknowledgements and replies within a time frame of say, 6 hours.

Choose a Single Portal for Communication

Of the many communication and collaboration tools out there, you could choose one that works best for you can and ask your team members to use it. Google Drive, Dropbox, and OneDrive are only a few of the many tools out there. Team members can share files and coordinate their efforts by working together on projects. As the employer, you have the option of constantly monitoring tasks and adding your comments and directions as you deem necessary. This strategy can also help you assess the efficiency of your team. Keep in mind that it always advisable to choose a single app to eliminate confusion and miscommunication.

Team Interaction

While it is important for you to supervise the functioning of operations, it can sometimes become difficult for you to coordinate communication if it is constantly routed through your desk. A great alternative is to put the remote hires in touch with one another on a single platform. This practice can help them stay informed about the activities of each other. You can avoid overlapping of tasks and maintain the correct sequence of events. Such platforms are also necessary when you need to hold meetings. Get your team together on a single page for brainstorming sessions and assigning tasks, preferably at the end of the business week. Accordingly, they can plan their work hours for the next week and deliver assignments on time.

Encourage Team Bonds

Help your team members see each other as people and not just as a name on the messaging portal. Encourage friendships and get people to talk about their families once in awhile. Creating a rapport can help remove tensions arising from miscommunication. Allow your team to sort out any issues that can sometimes arise without the need for you to intervene. On your part, you can make sure you have an open work culture in your company. This strategy can help you build trust and loyalty among your remoter hires.

Face-to-face interaction is no doubt essential for effective communication, but with a few smart moves, you can coordinate virtual communication among your remote hires and build an efficient team.  

Why Your Best Remote Hire is the Next One

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Having created a new business or startup, it is understandable that entrepreneurs prefer to hire virtual employees as compared to an in-house regular employee base. Having virtual workers or remote hires as they are also called can present a host of benefits for your business. To begin with, you can avoid having to incur administrative overheads, nor will you have to lease office space to accommodate them. In addition, you’ll only have to pay salaries according to the hours they spend on your tasks. If you are at a loss about how to find and hire the best remote talent out there, here are a few tips to keep in mind.

Match Remote Hires to the Tasks at Hand

Instead of creating an entire team right away, it is advisable to hire skills as and when you need them. For instance, should you need to develop a smart marketing strategy, you could hire the necessary experts that can search out and find the perfect markets and guide you. Ready to take your business online? Go ahead and look for remote hires like web designers, developers, link builders, writers, SEO specialists and other skilled people to assist you. When your business grows large enough for the need for expert accountants, hire them. In this way, you’ll be able to create a diverse team of resources and highly efficient people that are able to deliver on the requirements of your company.

Look for a Great Online Portal

Take the time to look for great online portals and social media networks where you can find the remote hires or freelancers you need. There are many sites where prospective employers can connect with talented people that work on a part-time or as-needed basis. Check details of past jobs along with references, reviews, and feedback from clients they have worked with in the past. You could also post the details of the task you have in mind and make your choice from the applicants that contact you. Take care, though, that you provide the maximum amount of information you can about the job. By doing this, you’ll ensure that only the people with the perfectly matched skills reach out to you.

Consider Hiring on a Trial Basis

An effective hiring strategy is to sign on two to three candidates and assign the same task to all of them. Depending on the work they do for you and their performance, you’ll be able to pick out the best employee for your enterprise. Letting them know that there are other candidates in the running is another smart idea. You’ll find that the dedicated people stay on and strive to do better while others are not willing to take on the challenge. This strategy can help you choose the workers that can help you take your company to greater heights.

Factors to Consider – Dynamism

When choosing the perfect candidate, look for personality traits that indicate a dynamic, go-getting attitude. For instance, the candidate should be proactive and interested in the products, services and general operations of your company. Such people are willing to take initiatives and look for solutions to issues they see without being asked. They are capable of problem solving and focus on getting the job done, even if it means taking unconventional approaches. Such personnel can prove invaluable for your startup.

Factors to Consider – Communication

Since you’re working with remote hires, the most important factor to consider is communication. You’ll need to issue instructions and discuss projects and tasks over the internet by way of emails. This is why; candidates need to be proficient at understanding what you say and capable of relaying information of tasks they have completed. You’ll also need them to interact and work efficiently with the rest of your team, if needed, without your constant supervision. This form of synchronization is very essential for the smooth operations of your company.

Once you’ve created the perfect remote hire team, make sure you maintain it. Pay them well and offer bonuses from time to time in appreciation for the work they do for you. Be open to giving referrals and feedback when they need it. These strategies will ensure employee retention and the continued success of your company over a long time.

Why Remote Employees Perform Better?

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Traditionally, employers have always had in-house teams working for them. Having the workers inside the office premises made it easier to supervise them, offer feedback and instructions and monitor the progress of the tasks. This is why; many employers are unsure about working with remote hires. It is understandable that you’re not confident about the freelancers delivering as per your requirements and perhaps, not completing tasks on time.

On the flip side, many professionals feel that they can achieve higher levels of productivity when they’re working from home. In fact, many of them have opted out of full-time careers in favour of working out of home and availing of the many benefits that a freelancing career provides. Ultimately, remote hires might just work better than in-house teams. Here’s how.

Use Technology

If you’re concerned about supervision, you can make use of the many apps out there. Use Skype, GitHub, or Google Chat for issuing instructions and time trackers for checking for the number of hours the remote hire has devoted to your tasks. Use the sharing features of Google Drive, OneDrive, or Dropbox to share files and monitor progress. These tools can keep you in constant touch with the activities of your virtual team without your having to be physically present. You can also use tools like Asana, Peak, Flow, and Basecamp to connect all the remote hires on a single platform. In this way, they can keep interacting with each other without the need for having to route communications through you. You’re going to need this facility as your enterprise grows and employs more workers.

Eliminating Office Distractions

Many remote hires feel that they can concentrate better in the secluded environment of their homes. Offices can be busy places with people walking in and out and frequent disturbances. Freelancers working in the privacy of their homes can concentrate better and have higher productivity levels. They also have the option of switching between projects to relieve boredom and have flexible hours to complete tasks. You would definitely prefer to have employees that delivered the required eight hours’ worth of work rather than employees that spent time in the office without really getting anything done.

Saving on Commuting Time

Should you choose to hire in-house employees, you’ll have to make do with a talent base from a restricted geographical base. You’ll have to pick from candidates who don’t live too far away from their place of work. If they do live in distant locations, you might have to pay for relocation costs to hire them. But, if you work with remote hires, you’ll have a larger talent base to choose from that could even be international. In addition, remote hires can deliver higher volumes of work since they don’t waste time commuting to and from the workplace.

Assessing Performances

When hiring in-house workers, you could interview them thoroughly, look for references and reviews from past employers. However, until you actually hire the candidate and he begins working for you full-time, you have no idea whether or not he can deliver on your requirements. Many workers also seem to get complacent once they are hired. But, with remote workers you can hire them on trial basis and finalize the one that performs the best. If at some point, you feel she is slacking off on work, choosing and hiring a replacement is not all that difficult. And, since freelancers are aware of this factor, they are likely to be consistent in their performance levels.

Perhaps, the most important positive of working with remote hires is that you’re not responsible for ensuring that they have the necessary degrees, licenses, and work permits. Acquiring these certifications is solely up to the freelancers. All these factors together clearly demonstrate that remote employees are likely to be better for your business as compared to regular workers.

Four Different Ways to Hire Your Remote Employees

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Making the decision to take on more remote hires to work for your company is the easy part. The more difficult part is setting your newfound strategy into motion. You’ll need to make sure that you have an efficient team that works well and your company continues to progress. In addition, you’ll need to seamlessly integrate the freelancers into your existing setup and maybe, phase out the in-house workers to save on the costs and resources. Accordingly, it is essential to follow a systematic process to make sure that the changes you intend to integrate don’t hamper the company operations. Here’s how to go about it.

Work out Your Requirements

The first step to work out is what you expect to gain from this organizational makeover. You also need to make sure you have a plan in place on how to go about it. No doubt, you’ll be saving on expenses and office overheads, but you also need to work out the new team details carefully, such as:

  • Plan how you will communicate with your freelancers. Chances are that you’ll be hiring talent from all over the world. Thus, you need to have the necessary apps, equipment, and communication schedules.
  • Consider how you’ll maintain quality standards and ensure that your remote hires understand your company workings and its culture.
  • You might have to inform your stakeholders about the changes you’re implementing. Work out the business proposal you’ll present to them.
  • In case, your clients are likely to be affected by the new hires, inform them in advance what to expect. You might need to reassure them that business will continue as usual.

Find the Remote Hires

You can find the remote talent you need from many sources. Of course, the best way is to look for referrals from other people in your line of business. You could also consider hiring through agencies or looking for recruitment companies that can find you the personnel you need. Many online portals put you in touch with freelancers from all around the world. Check for reviews for past clients when making your choice.

Once you’ve narrowed down your candidates, conduct interviews via chat apps. By interacting with them and asking questions, you should be able to find the remote hires that are capable of delivering what you need. Since you’ll be working with them over the internet, they should be capable of working with computers and other necessary tools. Ask yourself if you would hire the candidate for an in-house job and you’ll know if he is right for the post.

Find Out Everything You Can

Just as you would conduct background checks for in-house employees, do the same with your remote hires. Ask for samples, portfolios, and verbal and written referrals from past employers. You could also conduct trials. Assign a task to two or more candidates and assess them by way of the work they deliver and their performances. Pick the one with the best quality. Aside from performances, you’ll also need to evaluate their personalities. Look for people who are willing to learn and contribute outside of the job scope. Proactive and dynamic people can always prove to be asset for your company.

Evaluate Business Conditions After a Time

Having changed the model of how you run your operations, you might need to conduct a performance review after a fixed time. Assess and evaluate if the changes are advantageous and your company is performing better. If you find that this model is not working for you, it’s perfectly reasonable to go back to working as you used to.

Working with remote hires is a great strategy, but there are many companies out there that operate better with in-house employees. Choose the business model that matches your company best and go with it. The success of your enterprise depends on it.

How to Motivate Your Virtual Employees

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Working with an in-house team and keeping operations running smoothly is easy since you’re interacting with your people all the time. You offer encouragement and support when they need. At the same time, you provide feedback on the work they’re producing. In case they’re dealing with personal issues, like any good employer, you probably let them take time off and make up for lost hours in other ways. Like, for instance, working from home or working over the weekends. However, when you’re working with remote hires, the office dynamics change completely. Your interactions with your team are only over mechanical devices like the computer and telephone.

You need to keep in mind that all employees, whether in-house or remote, need to be dealt with in exactly the same way. If you can encourage and keep them motivated, they are likely to work well for you. Ultimately, an efficient working team is vital to the success of your business. Here’s how you can continue to motivate your remote hires even if they are based in different locations around the world.

Infuse the Human Factor

Take care to remember that your remote hires are more than just a voice on the phone or a name on the email and message list. They need appreciation for the work they do for you and the kudos that you give them is worth more than the generous salaries. Recognize and acknowledge the efforts they put in outside of their job scope and offer bonuses for work done exceptionally well. Make sure you let the other team members also know that you reward hard work.

Stay in Touch

Keep in regular touch with your freelance workers. Ask for updates on the work they’re doing and keep issuing fresh instructions as and when they’re needed. In this way, you’ll turn yourself into a real boss who’s interested in them as people and not just a faceless entity. You must also conduct team meetings from time to time. This strategy will help you coordinate the efforts of your team and iron out any snags and miscommunications. You’ll find that your company operations run smoothly like a well-oiled piece of machinery. Your remote workers will work better since they’re not dealing with chaos all the time.

Be Reasonable with Workloads

When you assign tasks and assignments, be mindful of the fact that your remote hires might be working in different time zones that yours. It may not be possible for them to deliver as per your business hours. Also, be aware that freelancers often work with more than one company and might be juggling multiple projects at a time. For this reason, it is advisable that you are clear at the time of hiring about the workload you’ll be assigning and the deadlines within which you need it completed. In case, the remote hires face personal issues like family or health problems, allow them the leeway and be flexible with deadlines. Having an understanding employer encourages workers to perform well.

Encourage Team Interaction

Your business is likely to progress efficiently only so long as your team works in careful coordination with each other. No matter how well you forward communications, the possibility of missed messages is very real. To counter this problem, encourage your team to interact with each other. The best way to make this happen is to have a single common platform where everyone can upload messages, queries, and updates. In this way, each employee is aware of what the other is doing. They will build bonds with one another and the feeling of being a part of a team is a great motivational factor.

To keep your team of remote hires motivated and achieving high levels of productivity, you only need to keep a few points in mind. Remember to interact with them like you would with your in-house workers. Communicate well and show your appreciation to motivate them. You will find that retaining talent and running your business becomes a lot more easier.

2 Minute Guide to Outsourcing like a Pro

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Experts estimate that small enterprises and startups typically work with 5 to 15 or 20 workers. If yours is such an enterprise, you’ll probably find that your in-house employees are managing operations efficiently. However, as your business grows, these workers may be unable to handle the workload. You might also find that the volume of certain operations now needs the expertise of professionals.

For instance, while you have been delivering products within the city yourself in the initial stages, you now need expert logistics to deliver them to customers that live outside the city. To quote another example, bigger enterprises have more complex legal and accounting procedures. Thus, you might need the assistance of external companies and outsource some of the operations. If you’re wondering how to go about the process of moving some of your operations outside the company, here’s what you need to do.

Identify the Skills Your Company Needs

Identify the areas where your company needs support. Many spheres such as marketing, delivering products, and computerizing taxes and accounts needs specialized people. You might want to take your business online, hire people to manage customer care or even source components for the advanced products you now manufacture. All these operations need experts to manage them. Consider whether you can get these tasks done by in-house workers and if it is economical. If you find that using external skills is more practical you might want to look for them.

Match the Skills to the Right Companies

Search out reputed companies that can deliver on your requirements. If you need to, look for referrals from other businesses in your industry. You could also advertise that you’re looking for companies that can provide you specific services. Invite proposals and take your pick from the ones that suit you best.

Work Out the Timeline

Choose the professionals according to the timeline for which you intend to work with them. For instance, accounting is a seasonal operation, but one that needs to be taken care of every year. Marketing campaigns are one-time tasks. Once you have advertised your products effectively enough and your sales pick up, you may no longer need the services. Digital marketing, on the other hand, needs long-term work. Keeping all these factors in mind can help you find the perfect company to work with.

Work Out the Scope of the Task

Once you have clearly worked out the tasks that you need the company to do, you’ll find it easy to explain and define them to the outsourced company. Make sure you add them to the legal contract you draw up. If needed, work with a professional team to get all the nuances outlined. Eliminating any possibility of ambiguity and miscommunication ensures that the tasks are done according to your specifications and expectations.

Vet Out the Outsourced Company Thoroughly

While you’ll do your best to find the best companies to work with, you also need to do your own homework. Check how they conduct operations and if their work culture complements yours. Ask for information about the past and current projects they have and if their partners and clients are happy with them. You could also ask them for estimates and possible strategies for managing your operations. Carefully study the presentations and flow charts they create. If you feel confident about what they have for you, go ahead. If not, look for a different company.

Outsourcing some of the elements and operations of your business is a smart business move. But, take care to go about it in a systematic way. Choosing the right companies to work with can ensure that your enterprise performs consistently. In fact, you’ll want to see it working more efficiently with the assistance of exterior people. That’s what outsourcing is all about.

How to be a Professional Remote Employer

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More and more entrepreneurs are opting to work with remote hires for a number of factors. They economize on salaries and office overheads and have access to the best talent and skills from around the world. Some employers prefer to work with just freelancers while others find that having a combination of in-house and remote employees works perfectly for them. Whatever may be your choices, synchronizing your team and aligning it with the requirements of your project can present something of a challenge. If you’re not able to streamline operations, you could very well end up with total chaos. Here are a few steps you could take to make sure that does not happen.

Build the Perfect Team

Looking for the freelancers that have the suitable talents you need can often prove to be a time consuming task in the initial stages. To begin with, you’ll have to post job descriptions and invite applications. Next, you have to interview candidates and check back with the referrals they provide. You’ll also need to vet them out by way of trials before you select the remote hires with the skills you need. Orientation, teaching them the ropes and how you work can also take a while. Once you have your team ready, you’ll need to work out the project details.

Matching Employees to Tasks

While you have the option of having your team ready before you work out the projects, some employers also prefer to organize the project and then select the talents they’re likely to need. Accordingly, you need to split the different components of the project and assign them to the freelancers. Take care to give yourself plenty of time to check assignments and ask for corrections until you’re completely satisfied with the end product. Also, factor in the delays that can arise because your remote workers are functioning in different time zones. Equipment and communication breakdowns are other issues you need to prepare for.

Coordinating Efforts

Break up the project into smaller goals so you can align and coordinate the activities of your remote hired team. You’ll need the various online apps that allow you to frequently communicate with your people. Also, ensure that they’re constantly in touch with each other so they each know what steps the others are taking. Using online worksheets and time trackers is an effective strategy. Find ways to motivate, encourage, and direct your team through the many hurdles and challenges they face. Give out bonuses and rewards from time to time to acknowledge hard work and an enterprising attitude.

Often the scope of the project changes as you go along. Work with your team to take the right steps to ensure it continues to progress smoothly. As the project manager, you might have to deal with situations where personalities and points of view clash. Take the time to sort out differences and choose the ideas that are most advantageous for the project.

Keeping Your Stakeholders Informed

As you work on the project with your team, you’ll have to give constant updates to your investors and stakeholders. Keep them informed of your activities, the progress and completion stages of the project. The costs you’re incurring is another factor to report on. In case, you need added financing, you’ll need to show why it is needed and how you intend to use the extra funds you’re requesting. If your project involves delivering products and services side by side with production, you might have to deal with clients’ feedback and requests for changes. Creating invoices, sending bills, collecting payments and of course, remitting payment for the inventory you’re sourcing are other tasks that you can use remote hires to assist you with.

If you can get a strong handle on the many facets of project management and working with a team of remote hires, you’re sure to make a roaring success of any venture you begin.

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