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Hiring Telecommuters

Before you set up employees in their own home offices, make sure you can handle the costs.

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This story appears in the January 2002 issue of HomeOfficeMag.com.

Things are going well for your homebased business. So well, in fact, that you've decided to hire your first employee. But you like working from home, so you've decided to allow them to do the same. Before you do, make sure you're only hiring employees capable of handling the responsibilities of working from home. There are many things to consider, and job fulfillment is just the beginning--make sure you're ready to handle the costs involved, too.

But working from home is supposed to be cheaper, right? Well, you won't have to pay an office lease, but you'll still have to equip an office. For Lisa Wilson, founder and CEO of VisiTech PR in Denver, whose eight employees work from their homes, the process of finding the right employees hasn't been easy, nor has it been cheap. After leaving a traditional office-based high-tech PR firm to start her own firm in 1998, Wilson decided she would only hire people with eight to 10 years of experience in the high-tech PR niche, counting on their experience and maturity to ensure that they would be working when they were supposed to. Even though Wilson is not paying the lease on an office, she figures her costs are about the same because she provides all her employees with individual office furniture and equipment, phone lines and high-speed Internet access as well as a budget for office supplies. Plus, because her employees have more experience, she also pays higher salaries and offers competitive benefits. And even though all but one of her employees is within a 30-minute drive from Wilson's home office, providing IT support can also be an issue since not everyone is in one place.

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