By Jenna Cyprus
Whether you’re running a business with in-house staff or remote workers, your financial responsibilities and obligations are about the same. The way you pay your workers might differ, but you’re still running a business and running a business requires a decent budget.
Without a full in-house staff, it might seem like you can get away with a smaller budget. When your team is made of independent contractors, you don’t have to pay for Social Security and Medicare taxes or payroll. However, that doesn’t mean you should shrink your budget proportionately.
Don’t shrink that budget until your business is turning a genuine profit
Until you’ve successfully created a system that turns a profit, you’re going to need to spend money. Remote workers and contractors will save you money in one area, but you’ll need to apply that savings elsewhere.
To meet your objective of generating a profit, you’ve got to look at your expenses as an investment in your long-term success. If most of your staff works remotely, there are several important expenses you may want to consider adding to your budget:
The employee experience
As a business owner, your objective is to create a working business that generates a profit. Part of that involves bringing your remote team together and creating a strong virtual company culture. If you haven’t factored the “employee experience” into your budget yet, you should.
Mark Cushway from Medium suggests that the happiness of your employees is your responsibility. He reminds us that 83% of HR leaders consider employee experience to be very important their success. He also suggests investing in your staff by helping them achieve their career goals by training and developing them.
Start sending your staff to industry workshops, buy them training courses, and find out what else you can do to help them achieve their career goals. It will benefit them and your business.
A professional video conferencing setup
The perils of videoconferencing have plagued CEOs and managers for years. If you don’t have the right equipment, your meetings fall apart. The worst is when you do have great equipment but it’s a complex installation. This spells disaster when the tech person who initiates everything is absent and nobody knows how to get it started.
Just because your staff members can download the Zoom application on their smartphone doesn’t mean you’re going to have a productive meeting. You could be an award-winning leader and you still must rely on the technology to deliver a seamless conferencing experience to your team.
There are companies authorized to set up professional video conferencing systems on popular platforms like Zoom. This type of service provides more than software installation. For example, IVCi is a certified Zoom partner that integrates hardware and software solutions for businesses to conduct conferences. They set up conference rooms with all the required components like video screens, cameras, computers (desktop machines and tablets), speakers, microphones, and keyboards.
You might be running your business out of a small office or your spare room, but if you need to run team meetings, a professional video conferencing setup is a necessary investment in your future.
Ergonomic supplies and tools for remote employees
When most of your employees work remotely, for all you know they could be hunched over their laptops on the couch instead of sitting at a desk. Working on the couch for short periods of time isn’t too bad. Though, when done regularly it can to serious health problems, including musculoskeletal disorders.
Musculoskeletal disorders include back strains and sprains, tendinitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and neck injuries. These injuries make up 31% of all workers’ compensation claims.
Setting up proper ergonomics for remote employees is an investment in their health that can also reduce your liability and cost. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration says US employers pay nearly $1 billion per week for workers’ compensation costs. This includes medical bills and legal fees.
Ask your remote workers and even your long-term contractors what their work setup is like. If they don’t have a desk or proper chair, offer to buy them one. Set them up with the right tools to keep their body in good health.
Hire remote workers for the right reasons
If you’re hiring remote employees as a way to save money, you should reconsider your intentions. Remote employees can be a wonderful contribution to your business, but they aren’t a money-saving resource. Remote employees are highly skilled individuals who can produce the same results as in-house employees.
Jenna Cyprus is a freelance writer from Renton, WA who is particularly interested in travel, nature, and parenting. Follow her on Twitter.