Advances in technology have provided businesses with the option of hiring a dedicated remote staff in place of regular ones, thus saving on their capital costs. A major advantage indeed when intense competition is making one try and save every penny.

However, to enjoy maximum benefit, you need to give proper training to your remote workers.

As a 2015 Flex+Strategy Group survey revealed, 52 percent of the total number of employees surveyed had never been imparted any training regarding remote work arrangement. Surprisingly, eight out of 10 employees had no idea how project management software works and two out of three had zero knowledge of video conferencing.
Expecting these employees to work with efficiency remotely will be wishful thinking. You need to set them up for success. And here's how you can do it:

1. Explain Modes of Communication
A major issue that remote workers face is not being able to communicate properly with colleagues and supervisors, who may all be working at different locations. Coordinating with people and working toward a common goal as a team is probably the hardest part of a remote arrangement.
Naturally, anyone using unfamiliar forms of communication will face some problems. Verbal conversation is the most effective way to interact with people, but while working from home, face-to-face discussion is just not possible. Employees use emails and messaging platforms to communicate. In the absence of body language and verbal cues, misunderstandings become common. Meanwhile, one advantage of using these mediums is that conversation records are always there and people may revisit them anytime in case they need them.
With a little training, people will know how to use modes of communication in the most efficient manner. You may also create your own guidelines regarding the use of a mode of communication in various situations.

2. Promote Collaboration
The camaraderie employees form does impact their productivity. Promote an internal culture of collaboration to ensure the various departments of your company work in tandem toward a common goal. No amount of meetings and warnings will prompt people to give their best if they don't have a good tuning among themselves.
When people are not physically present in office, they're more likely to develop a feeling of disconnection from the rest of their team. Faceless email addresses with no personal warmth will make remote workers feel aloof, sooner or later.
You need to develop strategies to keep such issues at bay while going for virtual staffing solutions. For instance, you can make it a point to introduce all your virtual employees, who have joined recently, to your in-house team. You can also inform them of the events you're celebrating in your office. A good idea is to provide them a virtual water cooler aka a chat room. These little steps will foster ties between people.

3. Devise a Strategy to Address Loss of Time
Technology has been a great enabler of work. However, there're cases when it becomes a killer of productivity. For instance, overuse of cell phones, social media sites, or emails may result in loss of work time.
When people are working remotely, it'll be too much to ask them not to use cell phones or social media sites at all. A pragmatic approach is to issue guidelines regarding the usage of these things. For instance, you may limit social media time to 10-15 minutes and ask them not to have extended discussions on cell phones.
Even official emails can be killers of productivity. If the people in your staff expect the remote workers to answer mails immediately, they'll have to keep checking emails every now and then, which may hamper their work. To avoid this scenario, you may implement a policy requiring people to check their mails every two hours.

When you've made up your mind to look for virtual staffing solutions, you also need to look for ways to optimize the benefits of such an arrangement. Adhering to the above suggestions will ensure the dedicated remote staff on hire remains as productive as possible and your objectives behind the outsourcing exercise are met.

Author's Bio: 

John Tie is working as a Digital Marketer and content strategist with Virtual Employee, one of the leading Outsourcing Company, offering affordable and scalable remote staffing solutions for mainly Small and Medium Businesses (SMEs) around the world in over 150 domains. He is a versatile tech writer and loves exploring latest technology trends, entrepreneur and startup column.