Embracing Remote Connectivity and the Gig Workforce
Many young workers do not share the same workplace values as older generations. Instead of compensation, millennials want to feel valued and experience flexible work arrangements. They may feel constrained in traditional office environments and roles. To become strong business leaders, many businesses are changing the way they look at the modern workforce.
The Appeal of Remote Workers for Businesses and Job Seekers
Remote employment and freelance work has grown in popularity for a number of reasons. Workers want to have control over what they do and when and where they do it. For individuals with diverse skillsets who may not fit into one position, flexible work represents an opportunity to build certain skills without feeling locked into one career path.
For employers, freelance and remote work significantly reduces overhead costs. Employers are typically not responsible for providing benefits to contractors, and remote workers do not need office space and don’t use building utilities while they work. Employers have also found that remote work improves their ability to find qualified talent. They can hire workers all over the world who meet their business needs either temporarily or permanently.
Enhancing the Remote Worker Experience
For freelancers and remote employees, the work arrangement can make or break the experience for both parties. Without the right collaboration tools, businesses may suffer from inefficiency, and remote work can become isolating. If you’re thinking about integrating remote work into your business model, here are some considerations to keep in mind:
- Collaboration tools – Businesses need reliable modes of communication for all remote workers. Think about the hardware requirements for the job as well as your communication needs.
For instance, a geographically dispersed design team may need to communicate visually. Videoconferencing equipment can bridge geographical barriers without interrupting productivity.
- Strategy for production – Checks and balances keep government branches from stepping out of their bounds, and every business should also have a series of checks and balances to keep projects moving forward. Who will take responsibility for remote worker productivity? How will you measure quality and success?
- The business relationship – Humans are social creatures, generally speaking. In isolation, the business relationship can start to suffer. Before you release workers into a remote environment, plan for a way to help each individual feel connected to the larger organization. Consider hosting annual get-togethers, virtual meetings, and sending out routine updates to help everyone feel valued.
- Freelancers are not employees – Many of the same rules that apply to remote workers apply to freelancers, but not all. If you plan to hire a freelancer, talk to your business attorney about contracts and applicable employment laws.
- Prepare for cultural differences – When you expand your workforce – freelance or permanent – to various corners of the globe, create a plan for addressing cultural differences. Always talk to contractors and prospects about any customs that may affect operations.
Remote work may not work for every business or workforce. Each business should evaluate its goals and needs to create a new, mobile-friendly business model. Many businesses find that a hybrid approach with flexible in-office hours makes the most sense. Start slow with flex-hours, and then move to full-time remote work or freelance hiring processes. You may find a more fulfilling and efficient way of doing business.