As I write this, my firm is onboarding four new employees. One is physically located in Erie and will work in our office, but the others are remote workers from as far away as Florida and California. To be honest, I have mixed feelings about that split.
On the one hand, I love that a lot of my team's work can be done remotely. It makes recruiting for new positions a lot easier and gives my local workers flexibility, too. Almost everyone at the firm operates on a hybrid work schedule, blending working in the office and working from home, and they love it – myself included!
On the other hand, I want to create local jobs in my community. In an ideal world, everyone at the firm would live here! But we don't live in an ideal world – we live in Pennsylvania, and we're trying to grow in the middle of a tight job market. The last thing I want to do is slow down my business growth and delay hiring while I find the right person in town. It can be tough to balance those two desires, but ultimately, I think I made the right choice – and you might want to make the same one.
I believe remote work has a place in every industry. Whether you're in construction or commercial real estate, you can grow faster, keep your employees longer, and boost morale by taking some positions remote or hybrid.
I know that's a hot take. Many business owners I talk to swear they can never hire remote employees because their teams do physical, hands-on work or because they worry they won't actually do their jobs without supervision. But that's a limiting mindset! Even a construction company has some positions that can be fulfilled remotely. Think about it: Do you really need someone in the office to answer the phone, do bookkeeping, or monitor your calendar?
Sure, you may not be able to hire remote workers for your core profit and revenue-driving roles, but you can still take advantage of the bigger candidate pool and faster hiring process for other positions. At the very least, you can outsource marketing and graphic design projects to expert remote agencies, vendors, or individual contractors.
As far as accountability goes, there are ways to ensure your team is working hard without looking over their shoulders or installing spy software on their computers. One strategy that works well for us is ensuring every role in our firm has at least one goal tied to a key performance indicator (KPI). It might be billable hours, lead generation numbers, or conversion rates – whatever that team member has full control over. To check their progress, I just look at that number.
For me, the biggest challenge of hybrid work is maintaining our company culture. We're constantly looking for ways to do remote team-building activities. This month, we're hosting a virtual chakra workshop and last Thanksgiving, we delivered turkey and mashed potatoes to our remote workers for lunch. We can still improve, but I think we're on the right track.
Ultimately, a successful employee is someone whose personal, professional, and financial goals align with your company's – and a flexible work arrangement can help make that happen. If you work with each team member's lifestyle and adapt their job to make it work, they'll be happier, more excited about their jobs, and more likely to grow with your company.
What do you think: Will you try going hybrid? If you do, remember to contact us if you're hiring 1099 contractors or W-2 employees in other states. We'll make sure your contracts are ironclad and those out-of-state laws don't surprise you. - Adam Williams