– by Ainsley Lawrence
Ainsley Lawrence is a freelance writer with an interest in the way business, technology, and education intersect with the personal. She loves traveling to beautiful places and is frequently lost in a good book.
Many businesses have let employees work remotely during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic — and they show no signs of turning back. A survey of over 1,000 hiring managers revealed nearly 42% of the American workforce was fully remote nine months into the pandemic. The survey also indicated the number of remote workers could double between 2020 and 2025 and reach 36.2 million by 2025.
Let’s not forget about remote work for small businesses, either. In a survey of 250 small and medium-sized business (SMB) owners, 85% of respondents said they did not have remote work options in place before the pandemic. But, 57% of respondents said they’ll likely maintain “increased remote working options” for employees throughout the pandemic and after it ends.
Regardless of when the pandemic ends, your small business can reap the benefits of remote work. To do so, however, you need to plan accordingly. And one of the best places to start: partnering with a managed service provider (MSP).
What Is an MSP (and Why Do You Need to Work with One)?
Think of an MSP as an all-in-one remote work resource. Your service provider can provide your small business with the tools it needs to get its remote workers up and running. Plus, if any IT problems arise among your remote workforce, your MSP can respond to them.
There’s a lot to like about partnering with an MSP for remote work. Key reasons to do so include:
- Collaboration: An MSP can teach your remote employees how to use Office 365, Zoom, and other tools and technologies, so they can seamlessly communicate and collaborate.
- Compliance: If you’re operating in financial services, healthcare, or another highly regulated sector, an MSP can help you comply with your industry’s standards and data security requirements.
- Security: Thanks to an MSP, you can set up firewalls, antivirus software, and other tools to protect your remote workers against cyberattacks.
Ultimately, an MSP offers you the peace of mind that comes with having an IT expert at your disposal 24/7. Now, you just need to find the right one to help your remote workforce get the most value out of its IT investment.
What to Look for in an MSP
Much in the way your small business is unlike any other, there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all MSP. So, you need to look closely at your available options to find an MSP that meets your company’s remote work requirements.
As you explore MSP options, here are three factors to consider:
- Communication: Every second of IT downtime damages your company’s bottom line. As such, you need an MSP that’s easily accessible if downtime or other IT issues crop up.
- Service Level Agreements (SLAs): An MSP can provide an SLA that defines the expectations between the service provider and their customer. Read an SLA carefully, so you can differentiate your responsibilities from the service provider’s.
- Governance and Planning: The best MSPs go above and beyond the call of duty to help customers prepare for the worst-case scenarios. They understand the impact of IT downtime and work diligently with customers to guard against this and similar issues.
The ideal MSP understands the importance of remote strategic planning. It views you as a partner, even if your team is decentralized. First, the MSP will meet with your team — even if team members are spread out around the globe — and learn about your business and its remote work requirements. Then, the MSP will work with you to build a strategic plan for remote work. The service provider will communicate and collaborate with you as your plan is put into action. And, if you have concerns or questions at any time, the MSP is available to address them.
Why Does Your Business Need a Remote Work Plan?
A remote work plan offers a great starting point for businesses that want to give employees the flexibility to work from any location, at any time. Your small business can use this plan to determine which tools and technologies are required to support your remote workforce. The plan can also help you onboard remote employees and ensure they receive consistent support.
When you put together a remote work plan for your small business, it pays to think long-term, too. If you account for the future, you can ensure your plan grows with your company. In addition, you can determine the best course of action to continuously add top talent to your remote workforce.
Remote Workforce Recruitment Tips You Need to Know
Research shows remote employees tend to be happier and more productive than those who work on-site. By offering top talent the opportunity to work remotely, you can distinguish your small business from its rivals. In the long run, this move can help your company bolster its team, improve its employee retention rates, and increase its revenues.
How your business promotes remote work opportunities to top talent is crucial. With the right approach, you can ensure your company is well-equipped to generate interest from quality job candidates from around the globe.
Here are three tips to help you stir up interest in remote work roles with your company:
- Develop Personas: Use work personas to define the type of employee you want to fill a remote job. Next, you can craft a remote job posting and promote it to candidates that align with your expectations.
- Be Transparent: Provide as much information as you can about remote work vacancies. If candidates have questions, encourage them to reach out via phone call or email, and respond to their queries as soon as you can.
- Keep the Lines of Communication Open: Let job candidates know how you will support them as remote workers. Practice emotional intelligence, and you can show candidates you will do what’s necessary to help them succeed in remote roles.
Lastly, if you need extra help finding candidates to fill remote roles, partner with American Recruiters. We are a national recruiting firm that can put you in touch with exceptional candidates interested in remote jobs. For more information about our professional staffing services, please contact us today.