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Busted: 7 Myths of Working with Remote Teams
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The Dangers of Working with Freelancers
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How to Tell When You Need to Hire a Remote Employee
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Capital Numbers Selected as “Enterprise Startups to Watch in 2015” by CIO Review

With Cloud Storage and Cloud computing becoming a way of life and business for most big organizations throughout the world, it is now slowly becoming more and more common for companies to hire remote employees. That is, employees who would not be working on the company premises, and in some cases, never even meet face to face with the company’s leadership. They would, instead, be hired based on virtual interviews and online tests. This might sound like a novelty, but it is slowly becoming a reality. The most common forms of cloud working are working on mobile, or from a personal computer at home or any remote corner of the world.

There is a reason why remote work is becoming more popular. Skilled employees are now searching for positions which are autonomous and allow for more freedom. This not only helps them to spread their wings but also nets the company good returns. In this article, we’re going to dispel some of the most popular misgivings and myths that surround remote working.

  1. The first myth is that people who work remotely are not as productive as the employees who work on a site. However, with the presence of modern-day tools for tracking employee activity and progress, such as Slack, there are a lot of ways in which remote employees can be managed and productivity can be monitored. The key is to find out a stable mode to evaluate and measure the performance of others.
  2. A second misconception is that employees who are remote aren’t as skilled. According to this misgiving, skilled employees prefer a formal office environment. They feel that remote employees would never be able to qualify for lead positions. This is especially true for cases where the employee is an independent freelancer or contractor. This, however, is just the contrary. Hiring remote employees would mean expanding outside of your geographical boundaries and being able to mine for talent in uncharted territories where your business might not be physically present.
  3. A third myth that plagues some businesses is, “It is difficult to find remote employees”. This, while true to some extent, can be remedied by reaching out to talent-listing sites such as LinkedIn. There are also innumerable forums and sites which list independent contractors and freelancers who might be inclined towards remote working. It is also useful to locate retired professionals who might be open to earning some extra money working from home.
  4. Companies often think that it is extremely difficult to manage and communicate with such employees, but in today’s world, where workplaces are empowered with forums and message boards such as Trello and Basecamp, it is no longer difficult for a company to communicate with remote employees. Slack is a real-time communication portal that is very similar to Skype. Here, not just individuals, but teams too can communicate with one another and create the sense of a virtual workplace.
  5. Some people think that remote work has no scope beyond IT and data entry. This was true for a considerable amount of time, but now you see companies hiring remote workforces for product development, sales and marketing and work related to SEO.
  6. There is a common misconception that remote employees can not develop any feeling of kinship with the company or its goals. That, however, would not be true. There are plenty of qualified freelancers who are used to working from home and who commit to a company for the right price.
  7. Last, but not least, remote employees are able to be more flexible with the hours they work. They have no demand or need for changes in their work schedule to suit their own convenience. Their hours can be ensured with a virtual agreement/contract.

These, in short, are some of the common myths about hiring remote employees that now, hopefully, stand busted.

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Freelancers have become a great option for companies that need to outsource their work temporarily when their in-house staff lacks the specific skills for the job. There are a few precautions to keep in mind, though. This is not meant to antagonize freelancers or put them in a negative light; it’s to share some of the possible adverse situations that could arise while working with them.

Freelancers should not be the lifeblood of your company

Before you even consider bringing in a freelancer to help, you need to understand the purpose of freelancing. Freelancers are not employees: they are not tied to any company and are merely offering their services on a project-by-project basis. Therefore, you shouldn’t rely on them to complete the bulk of work on your projects.

For example, if you want to create a website that displays user submitted artwork, find local employees who can do everything you need to do to achieve your initial goals. Freelancers should only need to be brought on when A) no one on your team has the required skills to finish a task or B) when everyone is too swamped with other things to work on that they can’t fit it into their schedule. By outsourcing all the integral parts of your project to people that may live in a variety of time zones, you are putting the fate of your website into the hands of the freelancers. Try to keep as much work as possible in-house to avoid complicated situations like the one aforementioned.

Multiple projects at once

The most common issue that comes with hiring freelancers is that your project most likely won’t be the only one they’re working on. Steady income for a freelancer requires them to have a constant stream of projects to work on, so keep that in mind. They may have 2 or 3 other jobs before they can give yours the proper attention it needs. With so many other things for them to work on, this can also mean that they may not finish your project by the established deadline, forcing you to either take what they have done or wait for them to finally complete it fully. Time is money and the more time you have to wait for them to finish what you ordered, you’re losing valuable customers.

Sharing your intellectual property with a stranger

Hiring remote employees requires a lot of trust on your end. You are putting your faith in someone who you’ve barely met before and hoping that they will follow the guidelines you set for them. The aspect that makes employers most nervous, though, is sharing their intellectual property with these people. Most freelancing sites have pre-screenings to make sure the people they are promoting are in good standing and reliable, but the fear that they may not handle your ideas with care can still be a deterring factor.

Inconsistent quality

Something to keep in mind while outsourcing to a freelancer is that their work is not guaranteed to be consistent from one project to another. Because they may be working on more than one project, there is a chance they may put more of their effort into another company’s job than yours. This is one of the unfortunate realities of hiring freelancers. You can’t just tell them that they need to prioritize your project because they already have enough on their plate as it is. Giving them a tight deadline won’t help you either, because even though your task immediately becomes their first priority, the quality of the work will be subpar since they didn’t have enough time to put substantial effort into it.

Could drop contact

The worst nightmare of any employer is when an employee spontaneously drops all contact. None of their calls are being answered and any frantic attempt to get in touch is returned with radio silence. Anxiety begins to set in about the uncertainty of the situation. “What happened to them and are they okay? Will I have to find someone else to complete my project? Is my IP safe?” You don’t have any need for alarm, at least not right away. Start by trying to get in contact with them and putting the pieces together before getting worked up over nothing.

The best case for this type of scenario is getting in touch with one of the freelancer’s emergency contacts. Have them give you one or more of their emergency contacts so you’ll be able to sort everything out in a timely fashion before hiring them. Hopefully you’ll be able to trace their activity and figure out what happened to them, but it’s no guarantee that you will.

Freelancing has been a valuable asset for many companies, but understand the risks before you start hiring them. Just be aware that there are some troubling possibilities when you decide to bring a freelancer in to work on your project.

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Having started your new business, you’ll want to remain in control of every aspect of it to ensure smooth running and efficient supervision. However, most entrepreneurs are not skilled in managing every task and need to consult or hire experts to assist them. For instance, you might need advice on how to handle the marketing side of your enterprise. Further, you’ll need assistance from capable lawyers who can guide you on the legal issues.

Since your startup is still in its fledgling state, you may not have the necessary resources and office space to accommodate a large in-house team. The best solution in this situation is to look for remote hires that are not only economical, but give you the freedom to work with them as and when you choose. So, how can you know that hiring freelancers is a more viable business strategy? Here are the signs to look out for.

Identify Your Own Talents

To begin with, ask yourself what are the tasks you’re especially good at and the ones you wouldn’t want to do. For instance, being an intensely creative person, you might want to focus your energies on creating the goods and services you want to sell. You might find that you’re not very good at assessing candidates and you don’t want to spend time looking for the people you need to staff your business. A good plan would be to hire a freelancer-recruiting agency. Explain your requirements to them and let them send the perfect talent base to assist you.

Small, Routine Tasks

As long as your enterprise is still small, you’ll have the time to manage every task, but as it grows, you’ll realize that you’re spending too many hours managing small, routine activities. For instance, checking and sorting through emails and daily communications. If you feel, you need to free up valuable time so you can take care of tasks that are more important, delegate the unimportant ones to a remote hire. Experts advise you to create a list of activities you spent your day doing for a week. At the end of that time, check through it and identify the hours you spent taking care of issues that you can easily delegate. This exercise can guide you on the freelance talent you need to hire.

Seasonal Tasks

Certain activities are such that you need to spend time on them only during certain months of the year. For instance, when it’s time to do your taxes or when you need to work out holiday bonuses. If these tasks take away valuable time during especially busy months, it’s preferable to look for remote hires. Not only are they experts in the specialized services they provide, but they’re also much more economical, by way of cost and time. You might also find that the tasks they accomplish are done more efficiently than you might have yourself.

Freeing Up Valuable Resources

On the onset of enterprise, many entrepreneurs hire workers that they think they’ll absolutely need to run their business. Chances are that you hired an in-house accountant when you set up your business. But, if you feel that he cannot manage any other tasks aside from seasonal work, you might want to save on the cost of the regular hire. You might also have hired a customer service person to interact with clients and handle queries and other such tasks. But, if you decide to move your business online, a freelance customer service executive can easily manage these activities. You’ll find that you’re freeing up valuable resources that you can divert towards the growth of your start-up.

Specialized Tasks

While on the topic of digital marketing, this is an advanced form of selling your goods and products. To guide you on how to manage it, you’ll need a team of experts who have credentials and many years of experience in the field. Since it is not practical to hire an in-house team to help you, you’ll need to look for remote hires. Similarly, there are many other aspects of your business that must be managed by other experts. When you feel the need for them, it’s time to look for freelance workers.

Working with freelance or remote hires can prove to be a very advantageous strategy. Be flexible and open to the idea and you’ll be able to make use of this very valuable operational tool.

 

Capital Numbers, the fastest growing IT startup from Kolkata, has been recognized as “Enterprise Startups to Watch in 2015” by CIO Review.

CIO Review’s Annual Enterprise Startups to Watch roll of honor not only recognizes organizations for their stellar working methodologies, but also for unique innovative practices that can stand the test of time.

During an interview with CIO Review Mr. Mukul Gupta, Managing Director, Capital Numbers, stated “Unlike hiring through Odesk or Elance, we offer clients an option to hire our full-time employees who work under the supervision of our Technical Project Managers”.

Kolkata headquartered Capital Numbers addresses website management issues and its relevant challenges. It’s current focus has been customized web design, web development, CMS, Mobile and Digital Marketing solutions to various agencies, start ups and SMEs by acting as their extended team. Capital Numbers recommend clients to choose a CMS Solution based on expected needs over the next five years with a flexibility to integrate various data.

The winner of Best SME Startup at The Telegraph INFOCOM SME Awards 2014, the big break for Capital Numbers came when they got an opportunity to help Harvard University to create a new online presence for Harvard Health Policy Review and The Harvard Science Review.

Elated with this new feather in the hat Mr. Gupta stated, “We want to become #1 Remote Staffing Solution provider for Web design and development, mobile apps development and digital marketing services in the international market. Currently Capital Numbers has 200+ employees and is earning $2 Million a year. By 2020 we aim to have 700+ employees and earn a revenue of $10 Million”.

About Capital Numbers
Capital Numbers is a Global IT Start-up, offering “In-demand Skills, On-demand”. The company focuses on solving critical IT problems of thousands of Start-ups, SMEs and Agencies though remote staffing system by strategically helping them to gain staff who can handle higher-level, knowledge-related processes.

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