By now, you must be well versed with what virtual staffing is and the business advantages that it offers. As a business, you might now be contemplating whether remote staffing could do some mercy to your bottom line.
Could it be that solution you and your team have been looking for? A solution that lets you cut costs without cutting corners?
Unless you require your staff to be present at the site to perform certain functions like provide hardware support, maintain physical spaces or offer a tour of real-estate properties, virtual staffing solutions can do wonders in every industry.
As a new entrant to the world of virtual staffing, you might need some help to get started and build your virtual teams. It is exactly where GTM comes in.
GoToMarket handholds employers who want to become virtual staffers. We help them hire the best virtual employees to fill positions. We ensure there are no gaps in collaboration and track employee progress so that they never go off-track.
While making the shift to virtual staffing solutions, employers often fail because they lack preparedness. It’s obvious isn’t it, that if you are trying to change the way things have been done for decades, there has to be a great level of preparation.
When employers neglect this and make a dive head-first, the entire system is bound to crash. Laying the foundation before becoming a remotely staffed company is essential.
How to Make a Smooth Shift to Virtual Staffing Solutions with minimal Roadblocks?
1. Allow Flexible Working Hours
The primary reason employees look for remote jobs is for the flexibility it offers. Some companies that allow their employees to work remotely often have stringent 9-5 timings. It is probably why employees aren’t as productive as they are bound to be distractions when working from elsewhere.
Employees might need to attend to a hungry crying baby. They might have to cook for their family while working at the same time. With strict work hours, they have to sacrifice either one or try to juggle both, and mess up both in the end.
Fixed work hours might require employees to work till late, make it difficult to disconnect after work, and so much more.
Flexible work hours addresses each of these. Employees work on their own time. They make it a point to work when their baby sleeps or take a good long break for lunch, eat with their family and come back with a happy heart that ensures high productivity.
With flexible work hours, employees can get more work done at the same time. Their energy levels stay high, and they voluntarily put in a few more hours on days they know they have more time.
Productivity should be measured in terms of results and not the hours put in.
2. Stay in Constant Contact Virtually
Studies show that 20% of employees felt isolated while working from home. It could have a deep impact on mental health and affect employee performance.
While working with employees you have met only virtually, it is important to assure them that they are a part of a team.
Teleconferencing is a boon when it comes to virtual staffing and remote work. Ensure that you have the best teleconferencing tools in place, and get a paid subscription. Most often, the best features come only for a price.
Since your virtual staff could have members in different time zones, ensure that you pick a common time to have a friendly call. Do not talk about work even then. Just keep it casual and get to know your employees, their interests, and show genuine interest.
It helps build a feeling of belongingness.
3. Build a Work Culture
Just as every workplace has a culture, you will be required to build a remote work culture. You could become a company that prioritizes work-life balance, or you can be a company that implements time tracking tools that spy on employees by taking screenshots of them working every five minutes.
Create a work culture with your employees at the center of it.
Build an image of being a result-driven but flexible remote employer.
Trust us, your employees will stick to you for longer, and you will not have to look for new employees to fill positions every few months.
4. Foster Transparency and Recognition
While working in an enclosed office, it’s easy to put up a “best performer” card on the bulletin board or make a quick announcement while everyone is at their desks. But what happens when your virtual employees are scattered?
Working remotely, your employees might be able to achieve larger feats, and recognizing their efforts could help boost their morale and push them to do more.
Put a system in place like a recognition newsletter where you celebrate your employees. With geographical barriers being very low these days, send a basket of goodies that your employee could enjoy. It could even be a basket of mini-muffins from their local bakery.
It’s the effort and recognition that counts in the successful adoption of virtual staffing solutions!
5. Implement Productivity Tools
Since employees work in teams, remote work can often make chat boxes chaotic, and important messages can get buried. There are hundreds of productivity tools that let the team collaborate as a whole.
Implement these tools well before you onboard your first remote employee so that they can collaborate on their work. Such tools let employees add to, edit, review, comment, set up timelines, assign tasks, track progress and do so much more.
Set up channels within these tools for different departments, so that each department stays separate but comes together to work as a whole.
6. Develop Proper Communication Channels
Instead of relying on Whatsapp and mail, set up an official communication channel where all work-related conversations happen and stick to it. Often these apps are multi-purpose apps and can be your video conferencing or telecalling software as well.
Such software also often offer platforms that act as news bulletins and can come in handy when you need to make a company-wide announcement.
7. Establish a Clear Span of Control
Not having clearly defined lines of command can give rise to a lot of unprofessional behavior, especially with employees in different time zones and with high flexibility. A frustrated employee might be tired of waiting for a response and skip directly to the next available contact.
Like a regular workplace, have a clearly defined organizational structure is essential and is no different from regular workplaces.
Make the organizational chart readily available to employees so that they know whom to approach in case of conflict.
Set up special escalation committees for all kinds of issues. Ensure that your HR does not get emails when someone’s laptop stops functioning properly or the employee portal’s server is down.
8. Offer a Portal for Feedback
We cannot stress this one enough. With no physical HR to report issues to, employees might feel unheard. Set up a virtual HR department and encourage your virtual employees to reach out whenever they need help. This process should start right from onboarding and orientation.
9. Create Networking Opportunities
It’s good to work remotely with little water cooler gossip, but it is also great to meet with your team at a new destination once a year. It promotes a feeling of belongingness, loyalty and gives employees something to look forward to.
Make allocations in your budget right when you begin for such networking opportunities. It could be as simple as meeting up for a conference in some location for a couple of days and not necessarily an expensive leisure holiday.
10. Pay Attention to Security Controls
Even though this one ideally tops the list, mentioning it, in the end, does not reduce the importance associated with it.
With all sensitive data being circulated online and being stored on different clouds, data security becomes of utmost importance for remotely staffed companies.
Even before you begin hiring, develop a cybersecurity policy, set up multi-factor authentications for employees, use encryption software, and take all necessary precautions.
Hire a cybersecurity expert and seek consultative advice on how you can heighten data security. Educate your virtual employees on cybersecurity during onboarding and orientation, and ensure they know the best practices and practice good cyber hygiene.
With all these preparatory steps, virtual staffing solutions could become a piece of cake for employers. GTM handholds such companies wanting to make the shift and takes charge of building their virtual teams completely.
You may now be wondering if hiring virtual employees is so smooth and easy, why would companies need firms like GTM.
Our next article will tell you about the challenges associated with virtual staffing and how GTM helps address them.