By this point, you know all about the benefits of remote working jobs. They save time, often require minimal investment once initial infrastructural pieces are put into place, and most importantly, help build the kind of high-morale, high-productivity workforce for which any decision-maker would happily trade a limb.
However, understanding the benefits and knowing how to capitalize on them are two very different things. And whatever questions your company must ask itself as it attempts to master the latter, two undoubtedly ride high on the list:
- Which roles are best suited for remote work?
- Which tools do you need to make it happen?
If these sound like primary concerns for your company, the following four roles and tools are a good place to start:
In some organizations, sales professionals are largely deskbound, calling cold leads and maintaining current relationships exclusively from the mothership. In others, sales staffers are rarely in the office at all. Others rest somewhere in between.
Wherever your office sits on this scale, sales professionals with proven work ethics and solid performance histories can be perfect candidates for new or expanded remote working possibilities. This is especially true in workplaces where existing tasks can already be handled elsewhere, with or without a little tweaking. When duties such as document generation, video conferencing, and lead tracking are increasingly handled over the internet, making the switch is often more about adjusting policy than implementing technology.
That said, there are key areas to consider if you want to create remote working jobs out of sales roles. Since sales is such a versatile gig, focus on aspects of the job that promote general mobility. For example, a cloud-based storage system allows mobile or home-based reps to create and access critical documents (think contract templates or T&C sheets) from anywhere, a necessary component for both client-visiting and customer-calling employees.
The traits that make office-based sales staff great remote work candidates translate well to other phone-based employees. The next position includes the people who support your employees and customers, and particularly those who provide that support from a desk. While the person who installs desktops and sets up the AV equipment can’t do the job from home, the top-tier staffer you call when your laptop’s kaput is perfectly suited to the task.
Access is the name of the game here. Companies already employing web-based customer relationship management (CRM) tools may find allowing home access as easy as providing hardware and provisioning IP addresses. Those making internal support employees remote, on the other hand, may wish to deploy virtual desktop solutions to give staff full access to the tools they’d have at the office. Throw in a proven call monitoring solution and you have a job that works the same anywhere — with all the benefits remote working jobs have to offer.
3. Project ManagementYou’re probably not new to employing project managers, but you might be new to hiring ones that work remotely. A company looking to contract with an on-demand talent vendor for the first time may find a need for new remote or home-based project managers.
The tools are almost as important as the people when it comes to managing remote projects. A proper solution should serve as part collaboration platform, part social network, part communication tool — the list goes on. It should also be flexible enough to adapt to your comany’s specific needs and the individual roles and devices within the team it supports. In other words, it should work to erase the distance between people, whether they need to work on a document together or discuss through text or over the phone a photo one member uploaded to the shared workspace from her phone.
The tool should also include features that make it easy to manage people. For instance, the ability to define, track, and visualize progress on a given project is often crucial. And while specific needs will vary from company to company and project to project, a solution that gives good managers the ability to do an effective job is worth examining, whatever goal your newly remote teams are ultimately working toward.
As it turns out, technology makes remote working jobs possible in more ways than one. While certain technological tasks will always require a human presence, many aspects of IT work can be handled most anywhere, which is a testament to the growing importance of businesses moving to the cloud.
The difference can be highlighted with a look at a common enterprise IT task: purchasing and deploying new servers. In the old days, bringing new hardware to the server room was a labor-intensive task. Today, virtualized servers can effectively be spun off at will and as needed, while automated provisioning practices remove the usual rote setup work from the process.
It’s much the same story as the above-mentioned help desk support, along with monitoring, updating, installation, soft maintenance, resource allocation, and countless other tasks carried out by the various IT roles within an organization. In turn, this is a big reason so many companies offer remote work as a benefit for many IT staffers these days.
However your company designates its professionals, don’t automatically assume they need a physical presence to carry out their jobs — you could be missing out on a happier, more engaged workforce if you do.
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