After 22 years of being married and 20 years of being business partners, one thing is certain no one knows me better than Mark. I am quirky, fearless in business, passionate about results, and will not allow anything to deter me from the goals and dreams we have. However, Mark also knows my “underbelly,” the things that bother me and my weaknesses.

On Thursday, I was sitting at the breakfast table, and I look over to see a lizard stuck between the window and the screen. While he found his way in, I was sure that he wouldn’t be able to find his way out. 

Now, I am not a lizard fan, but I certainly didn’t want a dead lizard in my window casing. Mark knew it was going to distract and bother me. It was going to be a constant nagging. Sure, I could have dealt with it but didn’t want to. 

Mark, therefore, took it upon himself to go outside, make the gap bigger for the lizard to escape, but the lizard was so afraid of Mark, he just backed away from the gap. I get on the (safe) side of the glass and start tapping to move the lizard to safety. It took both of us to get the lizard to find the way out, but he did.

Often, we need people in our lives to help us see the way out. Especially in business, if we want to grow faster, achieve our goals, it is best to rely on those who have been before us, someone who has paved the way and can either help us get there faster or hold our hands. 

We help business owners reduce overwhelm, bad hires, and staff turnover. We have paved the way with proven hiring processes for optimum results. Let us show you the way and get unstuck in your business. Set an appointment for a free consultation.

P.S. If you are looking for someone to help you grow- check out my friend Jim Roman’s 3 day event. He is fantastic & the event is limited, so register early.

Post-COVID, companies are going to have to adapt. Many companies will change their policies about visitors, working from home, and there will be a new standard for office cleaning to keep employees safe. All of these changes mean that as business owners, we need to evaluate, change, and enforce the new policies.

I have been managing remote teams for more than 7 years now. I have worked with hundreds of clients to help them prepare for blending remote and in-office teams. I am helping them prepare and work together to thrive & improve their business processes and increase customer service. 

The COVID interruption minimally impacted my clients. Most of my clients are using this disruption to evaluate their staff, right size, and become more efficient. 

After evaluating the successes and failures of business owners to navigate the use of remote and in-house workers, I can identify 3 areas where business owners struggle: Technology, management, and data security.

TECHNOLOGY

Phones

Most companies have determined that the old POTS line with a PBX has gone the way of the technology dinosaur. What they don’t realize is the VOIP phone system that they have can generally easily be adapted for remote workers. We recommend using the software phone on the computer with a wired connection versus using wi-fi. Wi-fi connections, even at high speeds, can lose packets and make the call sound unprofessional.

Computers

Many companies have cloud-based software that allows for remote team members to connect when outside of the office. For the few programs that are not cloud-based, there are other options like Terminal Server that allow for quick access remotely. A quick call to the IT consultant can generally solve this issue.

MANAGEMENT

The implementation of virtual employees will highlight strong managers and weak managers as well. In an office setting, it is easier to form connections and bonds that can make up for weak managerial practices and communication. Managing a virtual team requires excellent communication and commitment to keep the team from becoming disjointed. 

If the company has clear goals and outcomes, it is easy to implement Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to evaluate anyone’s performance fairly. 

KPIs, along with regular targeted interactions with the team, helps everyone focus on the primary goal of the company and department. This management style allows a manager to be unbias, help with training or deficiencies in the team, and allows for better overall employee experience. 

Knowing the targets helps the employees stay engaged and help self-manage their performance. It also allows for them to seek help when they realize they are below the bar.

SECURITY

When thinking about using virtual employees, the company needs to evaluate its data security and policies. Security can be addressed in a few ways.

Background Checks

When we are providing virtual employees for our clients, we can perform a full criminal background check similar to what the FBI does. Not every country has that available to them. We feel this is an essential first step in hiring virtual employees.

Computer Policy

Virtual employees oftentimes are using their personal equipment. As such, they use that equipment for various tasks, which may include a child’s entertainment. This can lead to the introduction of malware and viruses, which can infect the whole network if you are not careful. We recommend that every client has a written policy about equipment, pay for anti-virus and anti-malware software for their virtual employees, and perform regular maintenance on their computer to try and prevent any issues. 

Data Policy

Virtual employees working from home have access to the company’s most prized possession, their intellectual property, their client lists, and other sensitive documents. For this reason, having a clear data policy, non-compete, & non-disclosure documents are a must. As a business owner, you want to do everything you can to set the expectation of how to handle sensitive data. Providing rules about printed material, access to only the data required for the role, and regular reminders about data protocol are all important.

At HireSmart Virtual Employees, we walk our clients through all of these issues and provide tools and training to make sure you have the very best experience when hiring virtual employees. If you have ever thought about how you can implement full time dedicated virtual staff to reduce your payroll costs while providing a better customer experience, set a time to speak with us – BOOK A CALL.

Now that COVID has ravaged our travel plans this year, my husband decided it was ideal for spending 6 months at our country home. We bought the land over 20 years ago from a man named Joe T. Bond whose family had lived here for generations.

He couldn’t even read the simple sales contract we wrote up, and the local attorney urged us to set the closing for the morning so he wouldn’t be too drunk to show up. (No joke!)

It is a beautiful parcel of land filled with Mountain Laurel around a winding stream, but when we bought it, it was cluttered with a burned-out mobile home and decades of trash piled up. We spent the first year cleaning up the land and eventually built our cozy farmhouse.

Soon after, we started our first business. It turned out that we realized we didn’t have enough time to come up here with young kids and the new company, so we put the farmhouse into rental service.

A couple of years ago, the tenants moved out, and since life has settled down for us, we decided to rehab the house and make it more like the second home we craved.

Little did we know that this would become our more permanent home this year. We still travel back to the city every couple of weeks, but we have enjoyed the pace of the country with the roaming dogs, chickens, cows, and donkeys who are our neighbors. It is peaceful, and lightning bugs light up the fields at night.

Since we are up here, Mark determined that this was the year to start a ½ acre garden. He had the field plowed, and he spends part of his time overseeing the plants, nurturing them, and watching the progress.

Parts of the garden are going gangbusters, and other parts are entirely dormant; same soil, same amendments, the same amount of sun, but completely different results. Why are some doing so well while others are not? I guess we will never fully understand.

As we continue to think about the workforce and changes that are happening, it allows us to reflect on our business and how we can best meet our clients’ needs. We are improving our processes, communication, & training.

We are planting seeds of ideas and watching them develop and mature. We are excited to see what concepts grow like gangbusters and what falls flat. We are innovators and creators, never satisfied with the status quo.

At HireSmart, we are interested in helping all our clients thrive and grow. We want them to have success and give them everything that they need to have healthy, productive teams. If you have ever considered a virtual employee, we will welcome the opportunity to speak with you and help you in any way possible. Book a time here that works for you!