Managing Remote Employees in a Rapid Growth Company

I have talked about remote employees in the past. I constantly encourage companies to utilize remote employees and try to make them work. However, rapid growth companies often don’t have a choice, it is sometimes a nessecity to hire remote employees.

In general, the advantages/disadvantages for rapid growth companies hiring remote employees are the same. I discussed them in this post and will outline them again below:

Advantages:

  • Happier employees.
  • Bigger talent pool.
  • Cheaper.

Disadvantages:

  • Harder to monitor.
  • Possible problems.
  • Communication.

The rapid growth company I discussed last week is in a relatively small area. The company isn’t in the middle of nowhere, but then again, it wasn’t San Francisco. The cost of living in the area was not really high, but it wasn’t low, either. They are having problems keeping up with the hiring they needed. The bad thing is, though, that they only have one remote employee and aren’t exactly sure about the concept and how it works for their company. And worse thing, is, they really need help.

Firstly, there are some jobs that remote employees are great at and others they are not so good at. Pretty much any job can be adapted so they it can be done effectively by a remote employee, but many are harder than others.

Great:

  • Customer service (live chat, email, phone*)
  • Programming (some cases and some setups)
  • System administration
  • Phone* / email sales for lower end products
  • Billing / bookkeeping

Not so good:

  • Some types of programming
  • Phone* support
  • Jobs that deal with confidential information
  • High end sales (where presentations have to be given, clients have to be taken out to dinner, etc.)

* How well a remote employee can do phone support depends on the technical setup of the company. Some companies have it setup so it works really well, others don’t.

It really depends on how the company is and how much the company wants remote employees. Many companies need them, or they will have to accept less qualified candidates and/or pay them a lot more. I believe that making your company “remote employee” friendly is worth it.

For companies that are growing quickly and need them, it is a good idea to hire someone with experience working remotely to help get everything setup. This person can work remotely or in the office, but they need to know what it is like to be a remote employee and be able to see things from an outside perspective. Usually, having this person work remotely helps because they will know exactly what it is like to not be in the office.

A key thing when it comes to having remote employees (as well as in-house employees) is to keep them in the loop. You have to let them know what’s going on and make them feel as if they are included. Otherwise, it won’t help anyone.

What are your experiences having or being a remote employee?

One Response to “Managing Remote Employees in a Rapid Growth Company”

  1. Headline Remix Madness – Part Two | Copyblogger said:

    Mar 15, 07 at 8:17 pm

    […] 3. Managing Remote Employees in a Rapid Growth Company […]