The Employer’s Guide to Hiring and Managing Remote Employees

Whether by choice or by force, remote work is coming. Employees are increasingly demanding the ability to work remotely and, as the COVID-19 crisis has shown, having the flexibility to go remote can be an asset for businesses too. But for business owners, adopting remote hiring can feel like a leap into the unknown. Hiring and managing a remote team requires an entirely different approach than managing a team on-site, and some employers question if they’re up to the task.

But while remote work may feel like a mystery, hiring your company’s first remote employees doesn’t have to be complicated. Here’s what to know if your business wants to get started with remote hiring.

The Types of Remote Workers

Remote employees

Whether full- or part-time, remote employees work out of the office 100% of the time. Since this eliminates the need for office space, hiring remote employees can save businesses big bucks. What’s more, one in three employees say they’d take a pay cut for the opportunity to work remotely.


Unlike employees who work remotely full-time, telecommuters only dabble in remote work. Telecommuters typically have an on-site office with the option to work remotely. Flexible work arrangements like telecommuting are extremely popular among employees.

Remote freelancers

Remote freelancers aren’t employees, but rather independent contractors who work outside your office. Freelancers are a popular staffing solution because they don’t require benefits or complex payroll taxes, but businesses should be careful to comply with IRS rules.

Finding and Hiring Remote Employees

While it’s possible to post remote positions on generic job boards like Indeed, it’s not the most efficient way to hire remote workers.

To filter out job seekers searching for in-office roles, businesses should recruit on job boards specific to remote hiring. While many of these job boards are commonly thought of as freelancer platforms, some job boards like Hubstaff Talent and WeWorkRemotely specialize in full- and part-time W-2 employees.

If you are in search of freelancers, turn to sites like Upwork. Here, you can find freelancers for nearly anything, from web design to corporate law. Freelancers are an excellent resource for temporary staffing needs but they can also be useful when businesses want to test the waters with a new position. To learn more about hiring remote freelancers, take a look at Upwork’s remote work resources.

Once you’ve found candidates, schedule video interviews. Remote interviews spare the expense of flying in candidates from around the country as well as give a glimpse into a candidate’s remote competence. Decide if you’ll use live or one-way video interviews or use both as part of a multi-stage interview process. One-way interviews are a great choice when you need to interview a large pool of applicants as it allows the hiring team to assess candidates quickly.

Tools for Managing Remote Employees

For most employers, the first question when it comes to remote employees is: “How do I manage them?” A lot of bosses worry employees will go rogue if left to their own devices, but in reality, remote workers are more productive, not less.

That’s not to say managers should take a hands-off approach to managing distributed teams. It’s still wise to hold staff accountable to a schedule and check in on projects. Just avoid bombarding your staff with communication. To keep lines of communication open without letting it become a distraction, set up both team-wide and project-specific channels in Slack. That way, it’s easy for employees to parse out pertinent information and ignore what’s not relevant.

Other than Slack, managers turn to a variety of time tracking, project management, and file sharing apps to manage remote teams. These include popular web- and cloud-based tools like Asana, Trello, and Basecamp.

Remote work is the future of business. Is your company ready? Instead of avoiding remote hiring as long as possible, start taking steps to add remote workers to your team. By starting slow and taking time to refine your business’s remote management practices, you can build a productive remote team from the bottom up.

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