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Running a business from home has plenty of advantages, from setting your own schedule to cutting out the commute. There can be no doubt that for a lot of us, this way of doing business is the future. It does, however, pose certain questions when it comes to things that office-based businesses take in their stride – such as keeping a work-life balance and having a business address that can take the stress out of communicating with recalcitrant customers.
Another issue that might be a test for some work-from-home professionals comes when your business grows large enough to hire an employee. To put it another way, what do you do when your business needs to take on extra arms and legs because there is too much for one person alone to do? Below, we have some questions and answers about how to handle employing additional workers when your business is a home-based one.
Do you let your employee into your home?
Working, and running a business, from home is relaxing for many people because they don’t need to go through the whole routine of observing a dress code, commuting in rush-hour, and the classic “meetings that could be emails” that happen in an office. If you run a home business, however, your home is the office – so how do things change when you take on an employee? Do you open your home to them, set aside space in which they can work?
The answer is that it depends entirely upon what you are hiring them to do and what you want the arrangement to be. If you run a woodworking shop and are hiring a carpenter, then the chances are you’ll need them to be present. If you provide digital content or similar, then you can hire someone to work from home just like you do; but you don’t have to. Make the arrangements you are most comfortable with.
Do they become an employee or a contractor?
There is a habitual tendency these days for businesses to hire contractors rather than employees, with the reasoning that it simplifies processes and gives both parties greater freedom. With that said, hiring someone as an employee might be a smarter move; it gives them greater security and may well see them perform better as a result. If you can figure out Laser Printer Checks and similar paperwork when payday comes, then it can be pretty smooth sailing even if you never see one another.
How do I track their work?
Again, there are varying schools of thought when it comes to tracking an employee, and this is your business, so you’re the one who needs to be comfortable with your choices. Tracking an employee’s work may be harder if you both work from home, but it’s far from impossible. Using cloud-based technology like Google Drive, you can share documents that need to be maintained; they can log their hours using appropriate software, and you can even use platforms such as Slack for keeping up to date with progress on tasks. You may alternatively, justifiably, consider that as long as the work is getting done, then the employee is doing their job. It’s really up to you – and your employee – to work out a situation you’re comfortable with.
Hiring employees is an encouraging sign that your business is doing well – but it does present some challenges. Face them with your usual efficiency and strength, and you’re sure to make the right choices.