Employees who work remotely, of course, don't require a physical office and many times use most of their own hardware and software, says Perlman. It's also worth noting that, according to BLS statistics, remote employees work on average an hour longer each day than their brethren in the office, which can equate to almost six extra weeks of productivity over the course of the year.
"I find I work much longer hours from home. Many clients expect me to be available 24/7 and I try to accommodate them even when it means working late or weekends," says Linda Cole, remote office worker and Internet consultant.
In its report The Hard Truth about Telecommuting. BLS also says, "an increasing number of jobs in the American economy could be performed at home if employers were willing to allow employees to do so."
According to BLS statistics, remote employees work on average an hour longer each day than their brethren in the office
How to Find the Right Fit
Building a remote IT team poses significant challenges, not the least of which is finding the person with the right skillset who also fits well into your company culture. Perlman says it's not necessarily important to find someone with experience working remotely. However, the three items below are critical to success when searching for someone to work remotely:
Great communication skills
Passionate about their work
Excited about the idea of working from home
"Qualities that you typically look for when interviewing candidates need to be even stronger than a typical office person," says Perlman, "If they are a supervisor or manager and manage remote employees then they need to be able to read signals better because [they] won't be able to use body language."
"Qualities that you typically look for when interviewing candidates need to be even stronger than a typical office person."
Managers need to listen more closely for those clues that can signal discontent, boredom or burnout. "Typically it's strong communicators and classic self-starters who are team-oriented. Screen carefully," says Perlman.
The tone you use when communicating can also play a factor. "While it's important to be able to read signals from remote workers, it's equally important to be careful in how you express yourself. If you can't see your remote employee's body language--they can't see yours either," says Cole. Abrupt emails or phone calls can make a remote employee feel uneasy, even more so when it's a regular routine.
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