Remote working has taken the global labor market by storm. For many, the entry point was the COVID-19 pandemic, as lockdowns made in-person collaboration impossible. However, for others, this was the way of the world long before 2020.
And there’s good reasons for this. Remote working has myriad benefits — for employers and remote teams alike — and it is proven that this trend is not only here to stay, but is accelerating. In fact, a 2022 study found that 64% of employees would quit their jobs if employers forced a ‘back to the office’ policy. Therefore, there’s also the risk of losing the war of talent if you, as an employer, fail to offer a remote working policy for your teams.
This article offers everything you need to know about remote working, so that you can make informed decisions about your policies and ways of working as an employer.
What is remote working?
Remote working is the practice of allowing employees to choose from where they work. Unlike traditional models of working which had obvious geographical restrictions (namely needing to be physically present in an office) remote working gives teams greater flexibility in terms of where they work, and gives employers the chance to broaden their talent pool when hiring for open positions. By removing the geographical limitations of work, a virtuous circle is created for all stakeholders — however, there are important considerations for everyone involved.
For example, the legal and compliance considerations become increasingly complex when you remove international borders from the employment process. As do taxes and payroll. Therefore, while the benefits of remote working are significant, so too are the considerations that employers need to make before employing their first remote workers.
What are the biggest benefits of hiring remote workers?
As we’ve already alluded to, the benefits of remote working are many — both for employers and their teams, be them full-time employees or contractors. In this section, we will consider the benefits for remote teams and for employers separately.
The benefits of hiring remote workers for employers
For companies, the benefits of remote working are far-reaching and significant. For starters, removing the geographical restrictions on work not only broadens the radius of your search, but also means that you can choose from the best candidates for a role rather than the most conveniently located. This is significant, as it is highly unlikely that all of the best talent is located at your doorstep.
What’s more, for companies located in more economically developed countries, the cost of hiring is far greater than the international median — or even average. Therefore, by considering your international options when recruiting for a new role, you also increase the potential value for money on your salary costs. For example, a developer based in the Philippines might be equally — or even more — educated as a developer living in San Francisco, however their cost of living is considerably lower, which will be reflected in their salary expectations.
In addition to this, the benefits of hiring remote workers extend beyond the HR- and finance-focussed. By broadening your horizons in terms of recruitment, you also welcome a diversity of thought, with colleagues having a combination of differing world views, experiences, and education which will only serve to enrich your workforce, and will have a significant impact on the depth of your company culture — providing that you make space for them.
The benefits of remote working for teams
For many, when choosing a new role — either as a full-time employee or contractor — the ability to work remotely is becoming increasingly important on their list of must-haves. This is because the modern workforce recognises both the efficiency and lifestyle gains of not being limited to the confines of an office.
For remote workers, one of the biggest benefits of working remotely is the decoupling of work from a physical location, which means that it’s no longer necessary to live in an expensive city in order to command a fair salary. Instead, remote teams can choose to work from more economical locations without forfeiting the salaries that they were accustomed to in New York or London.
What’s more, for workers who are based in developing countries, the doors have been unlocked to collaborating with European or American companies, enhancing their employment opportunities significantly.
In addition to this, remote working has removed the necessity of a commute — which for many could have historically represented as much as three hours per day in lost time. This time can instead be spent with family and friends, or devoted to passion projects or hobbies, meaning that remote workers have greater work-life balance and reduce the risk of burnout significantly.
Finally, much as employers’ talent pool widened with the advent of remote working, so too did remote teams’ pool of opportunities. With many market-leading companies choosing to hire remotely, contractors and employees have the chance to find work that they find more satisfying, meaningful, and exciting than the jobs that were simply closest to them, which was a previous bottleneck in job-hunting.
Hiring remote workers: Optimizing the hiring process
Now that you fully understand remote working and are convinced of its many benefits, it’s time to begin the remote hiring process. This section outlines the steps that you should follow to successfully hire remote teams.
The job posting
The first step on your journey to hiring remote workers is the job posting. This is an important piece of digital real estate for your organization, as it will be the entry point for many candidates in their research. Your job posting therefore should provide an accurate and complete picture of your organization as well as the role.
This is an important time to set expectations for candidates, to give clear guidance on what you are looking for, and to ensure that you ‘sell’ the benefits of the role to the right candidates. Investing time in writing a fully-formed job description might be time-consuming at the outset, but it will save you vast amounts of time in reviewing the applications that you receive, as a higher-quality job description will yield more qualified candidates. The broader your description is, the more that you will have to ‘separate the wheat from the chaff.’
Another important consideration here is where you will post your remote job description. There are a range of services available, including WeWorkRemotely or Remoters, which cater specifically to remote job seekers internationally. However, you should also consider more traditional arenas such as LinkedIn, Indeed, and ZipRecruiter, too.
Finally, many of these services provide premium options which give greater visibility to your job listing. For key hires, it is worth considering investing in these, so that you capture the attention of every potential ‘right fit’ and not just those who are willing to scroll deeper into the listings boards.
Once you have listed your job and reviewed the applications you have received, you are ready for the interview process to begin. In the absence of a recruitment agency or an internal recruitment team, the process of arranging interviews can seem somewhat laborious. However, it needn’t be.
Utilizing tools such as Calendly for interview booking, and automating communications through email providers such as MailChimp or HubSpot can significantly reduce the burden of arranging interviews with prospective remote hires.
Once your interviews are arranged, it is important to prepare for your role as an interviewer. In remote hiring situations, it’s important to set expectations with your candidates ahead of time — letting them know what to prepare for the interview, and letting them know the medium that it will take place on. For example, letting candidates know that it will be a video call is an important item on every remote interviewers checklist, as some might be expecting a phone call.
In your interviews, it is vital that you create space for your candidates to share their experience fully, and make them feel comfortable to bring their full selves to the table. The interview is also a forum for you to share, as interviews are two-way — the candidate will be evaluating their prospective employers as much as the interviewer is evaluating them. Therefore, it’s vital that you present a balanced and accurate view of the company and the role. After all, if you overpromise candidates at the interview stage, they will quickly become disengaged once onboard, and then you risk increased employee churn.
Candidates will be expecting a multi-stage interview process, and therefore it is important as an employer to consider the different hurdles that prospective remote hires will have to overcome before you decide to bring them on board. It is usually prudent to have at least real-time interviews, one with the hiring manager, and one with a founder or a senior figure from within the organization whose opinion you trust. This means that your hiring decisions don’t rest on the opinion of any one individual.
For some functional roles, it’s also wise to consider including an assessment or task so that you can see your candidates in action. For example, if you’re hiring a new product marketing manager, you could consider paying them to complete an assignment for a new feature launch. By offering them compensation, you demonstrate that you don’t expect them to work for free, and by having them complete this assessment, you will be confident in your decision to make them an offer.
Once the interview process has concluded, you have all the information you need to make your hiring decisions. It is important to sync with whoever else is involved in the hiring process throughout the interviews, and you might even consider creating a private Slack channel to give your thoughts asynchronously with others involved in the process.
At this stage, you might also consider having a review call with other key stakeholders involved in the process to discuss individual candidates and gather all of the feedback you need to feel confident in sending feedback to your candidates.
Once you have arrived at your decision, you are ready to make your successful candidate an offer. For some companies, they choose to do this on a call — giving their prospective new hire feedback in real time, and discussing the specifics of the offer on a call. For others, they choose to do this via email. The latter can feel far less personal, and also can create unnecessary back-and-forth in the negotiation process, in which you risk losing your prospective new hire to another employer.
However you choose to make the offer, it is important to communicate your excitement to work with the candidate, to thank them for their time in completing a multi-stage interview process, and—perhaps most importantly—to tell them why they were selected.
In an ideal world, the candidate accepts your offer and agrees to come on board, however you need to plan for the eventuality that this doesn’t happen. Therefore, you should avoid sending rejection emails (and feedback) until the chosen candidate has signed their offer. Once this happens, it is important to thank unsuccessful candidates for their time, to give them tailored feedback where possible, and—for those who were close—to encourage them to apply again in the future.
Onboarding remote employees and contractors is a crucial part of the remote hiring process. After all, ensuring that your collaboration gets off to a successful start is key in not only guaranteeing productivity, but also in creating job satisfaction and engagement with your new team members.
Your remote onboarding process should be well-documented, and should ensure that your new team members not only feel welcomed to your organization, but that they are set up for success. Your onboarding schedule should create opportunities for your new hires to ask the right questions, to network with their peers, and to feel as though they are a part of something — the latter of which is especially important, as company culture is an important determinant of the success of remote work.
If your onboarding process is not effective, you risk alienating your new hires, and you significantly increase the risk of employee churn. The latter is especially prevalent in remote teams, as research shows that 31% of employees quit their jobs in the first 3-6 months.
Onboarding is therefore a vital step in the remote hiring process, as it ensures your collaboration with team members is optimal, and reduces churn which—as recruitment is a long and expensive process—significantly increases the cost of remote hiring.
Read our free Remote Onboarding Guide today to master this process.
What should employers consider when hiring remote workers?
The benefits of hiring remote workers clearly speak for themselves, however, there are important trade-offs and considerations which employers should think about before pushing ahead with their first remote hire. In this section, we’ll cover the key considerations employers should make when hiring remote employees and contractors.
Legal and compliance
Some of the first questions that likely spring to mind when you consider employing people internationally will be the legal and compliance requirements. What happens with employment contracts? How do you ensure that you are compliant with local employment laws? How do you protect your company while offering opportunities to those abroad? These are all logical and well-founded questions.
However, much as the labor market has evolved in recent years, so too has the range of services available to employers for managing human resources internationally. There are now a range of platforms available to you as an employer to manage the legality and ensure the compliance of your international teams.
For example, if you want to bring people on board as a full-time employee, then considering an Employer of Record set-up (such as that offered by RemotePass) is a great option. This enables you to hire remote workers on a full-time basis through a local proxy which is managed by the third party. This means that they take care of the employment contracts, the local tax and social security considerations, and the basic compliance of hiring someone in a foreign country. This is a more expensive and less flexible route than hiring a remote worker as a contractor, however for some organizations, this way of working is preferable.
The second option is to hire a remote worker on a contract basis. This means that employers don’t need to assume responsibility for the local taxes and social security for the team member, and also gives greater flexibility in terms of the remote worker’s ability to move internationally. What’s more, in this model, employers are able to offer higher remuneration to remote workers, as they are not having to pay significant tax and pension contributions.
Overall, working with independent contractors is far cheaper for employers, and they can use a platform such as RemotePass to manage the contracting, onboarding, and payroll processes.
Finance and payroll
Another of the most important considerations when choosing to hire remote workers is deciding how you will manage payroll and internal finance. If you are collaborating with people as internal contractors, you will need to decide how to manage monthly invoicing and ensure that everyone gets paid, on time, in the currency of their choosing, by the means of payment that best suits them. Now, this is easy enough if there are just one or two collaborators involved, however as your business grows, this soon becomes unwieldy — especially if your team is highly international.
Ensuring that you have robust processes in place, and that you action each month’s payroll — without risk of human error — can be daunting. Thankfully, once again, there are a range of solutions at your disposal.
Ideally, you should choose a tool that centralizes all of your payroll-related tasks, and integrates fully with your accounting software. This should make it possible to batch payments, and with a tool like RemotePass you can pay any number of employees in their chosen currencies and payment methods with a single click.
Another important consideration when hiring remote teams is the range of benefits that you are going to offer them.While competitive salaries are an important starting point, modern workers expect more in the way of benefits than just a paycheck.
Other remote employee benefits can include:
- Health insurance
- Pension schemes
- Remote office allowances
- Technology allowances
- Co-working space subsidies
- Team retreats, and
- Equity share incentive schemes.
to name just a few. And these are important tools when it comes to ensuring that your remote team feels looked after, which in turn enhances job satisfaction and reduces the risk of churn.
Time zones and management
Another important aspect to factor into your remote hiring process is how you are going to manage your new team members.
Will you require lots of real-time collaboration, or will the role largely be fulfilled asynchronously? This will have a large impact on the timezones you choose to recruit in. For example, if you’re based in San Francisco and require a high level of real-time collaboration, it wouldn’t be wise to recruit a new team member in Dubai.
What’s more, you should also consider how you will manage the administrative aspects of your role as a manager. For example, having systems in place that enable you to keep track of time off and expenses will help you to keep on top of your management responsibilities without adding manual tasks into your already-overflowing schedule.
Hiring remote workers: The gateway to your future success
As you can see, hiring remote workers is not a straightforward process, but the end certainly justifies the means. By investing the time in the process and having a thorough understanding of some important considerations, you can find, connect with, and hire the best talent from around the world — which will instrumental to the further success of your organization.
However, given the complexity of some of these considerations—and the risks associated with making mistakes—it is vital that you implement the right tools to support your remote hiring, onboarding, and management journey.
RemotePass helps thousands of remote workers and hundreds of companies globally to work together. If you would like to learn more about how we can help your organization master remote working—effortlessly—then get in touch today.