I absolutely love working remotely. It’s awesome to be able to work anywhere with an Internet connection and still be connected with the rest of our support team. We can cover more time zones so nobody has to work a weird 2am shift just to provide more coverage. Especially with customer support, remote working is the way to go.
When you’re up for hiring remotely, the entire world is up for the search. Instead of having to settle for an okay person in a specific city, you can hire that fantastic candidate from a few states over. When you go to hire them, keep these things in mind:
- They need to be able to manage themselves. You don’t want to have to worry about them goofing off on Facebook for hours on end instead of working. Look for people who have a track record of being their own “boss” in their previous jobs.
- Have a video call with them via Skype or such. It’ll give you a good idea of how they interact with someone that’s not in the same room as they are.
- Let them try it out for a week or so. Give them a trial run before you hire them just to confirm that you made a good hire.
When you have people scattered around the globe, it’s easy for silos to pop up. The team can fall into a home office vs remote worker mentality if you’re not actively working to build the team.
- Have a virtual water cooler. Campfire, Google Hangouts, and even group IMs work great to keep everything in the loop. I’m in a Campfire room with our support team all day and it’s a blast. We get advice on ways to word emails, talk about how the Giants are winning since Merissa is a fan, and play random songs at times just to keep things lively.
- Bring the entire company together for meetups a few times a year. I find that seeing the entire team at our meetups is like getting the family together for Christmas. It’s just loads of fun and reminds everyone we’re all on the same team.
- As the team leader, check in with each of your team members. We have a support team leader that keeps a tab on how people are doing. They celebrate our wins and help us with our challenges.
Necessity vs Preference
I think remote working is somewhere in between those two. It’s more than a preference. It’s something that, if possible, everyone on your team should at least try. But it’s not a necessity or requirement yet. There’s plenty of great teams out there that work side by side in an office and do great work. Like many things in the world, it all depends on your team. At the very least, give it a shot. It works great for me and it might be just what your team needs.