In growing Smallbiztechnology.com I also hire and manage remote workers, mainly through Elance.
The more responsibilities you assign a remote worker the more important it is to ensure that you have systems and policies in place to ensure their work is as optimal as possible. It’s not just about the technology, but also about how you communicate, the metrics for their work, how often you communicate and more.
Cisco’s a leader in this space and one of their partners, Burwood Group, offers some tips on telecommuting below:
- Provide remote workers with a good camera or Telepresence unit. The better the equipment, the more real the experience can be for both the end user and the customer.
- Help remote workers setup as good of a connection as you can without taking the internet provider into account. Even if you have awesome equipment, if the connection is poor, the experience will be as well.
- Make sure the connection is secure. Home offices are not as secure as the company office. Take precautions to make sure the exchange between the user and customer is just as secure from the workers’ home environment as the workers’ office environment
- Ensure the equipment is simple to use. The easier the equipment is to use, the better experience for the user.
- Train users on teleconferencing etiquette. Users need to be aware of their environment when teleconferencing from home. To make the most of the experience, the environment should be quiet, well-lit and visually appealing (no clutter, other people, neutral colors). The user also needs to make sure they are presentable on camera. They should dress in the company dress code and behave appropriately. Remember, people can see you.