Businesses are changing and so is our work culture. Technological advances coupled with the increased pressure to find skilled workers has resulted in a growing trend of remote working. By 2022, we can expect 60% of office-based employees to be working from home on a regular basis, says Virgin Media Business. While large companies have a dedicated HR department to manage employees who are working from home, small businesses face tougher challenges. Managing remote workers doesn’t need to be an uphill struggle. With the right culture and resources, small businesses can lessen the HR workload.


It’s critical that remote workers understand exactly what their job role entails and their responsibilities at the company. Make this clear in the initial job descriptions and listings when advertising a vacancy, whether that’s on a jobs board or on freelance platforms such as oDesk and Elance. Don’t let the lack of face-to-face communication hold you back. Video conferencing software such as Skype and Google Hangouts mean you can conduct face-to-face interviews no matter where candidates are located, and can check in on their progress on a regular basis.


Allowing employees to work flexible hours from home shows that you trust them. In the words of Richard Branson: “To successfully work with other people, you have to trust each other. A big part of this is trusting people to get their work done wherever they are, without supervision.” Employers must have a firm foundation of trust when they take on remote workers, otherwise managing them will be very time consuming. The best advice is to start small, giving new employees shorter tasks to complete before assigning them long term projects, and build trust this way.


It’s essential to oversee and evaluate performance and productivity of employees to determine when training is necessary. Even if your remote workers are located across the world, small businesses can create in-house training videos to share across the internet. Alternatively there are online training programme providers that could be used. For smaller businesses, an online employee database which can be accessed from any device may be a good way to keep track of employee information, previous training and future training dates.


When you staff are working from home, you’ll need a efficient way of keeping track of their holidays and knowing when they have been off sick. Planning ahead for staff leave and monitoring sick days is vital to ensure your small businesses runs smoothly. Online staff leave planning software can provide you with a simple but effective tool to track leave. Employees will be able to log in to request holiday time and to fill in a self-certification form when they’re off sick. Managers can receive automated holiday requests, see their team’s total holiday days and be alerted when someone is taking too much sickness.


Keep these four points in mind and you’ll be able to cut down on admin and streamline your small business’ HR to ensure the smooth and efficient running of your workforce.