horizons

Our Solutions

How to Hire Remote Tech Support Employees

Key Takeaways

1. In the modern world, strongly performing international companies need reliable, high-performance tech support. This is especially true where a business relies on online customer interaction to make money. It is also true when elements of a company’s workforce are working partly or entirely remotely, and depend on the good functioning of their equipment and software to connect with and contribute to core work.

2. Hiring tech support staff to work remotely offers many benefits including a wider talent pool, increased employee value proposition (EVP), and greater flexibility and resilience, as well as potentially lower employment costs. 

3.  When hiring remote tech support workers, you may choose to engage contractors or recruit employees, and there are advantages and disadvantages to both options. Whichever option you choose, it is important that you understand and comply with relevant local employment law and tax requirements. 

4. To combine some of the advantages of choosing either contractors or employees overseas, and minimize potential disadvantages, you might also consider partnering with a Global Employment Organization (GEO) who can act as Employer of Record (EOR) for your remote tech support staff.

From large multinationals or SMEs to start-ups of any size and shape, in the 21st century the vast majority of companies need effective tech support to underpin delivery of operations, knowledge management and communications. Tech support also becomes increasingly important as remote working models normalize, with greater workforce dependence on IT equipment and software, and a greater desire amongst staff to work remotely.

Business and HR leaders carry the responsibility for strategic decisions to ensure the right tech support is in place to meet the needs of their companies and workforce. Remote tech support can be the right option, providing flexibility, value for money, and a larger global talent pool for recruitment. For staff, remote options can make a company more attractive, especially in the tech sector, where 95% of developers prefer a hybrid working model.  

What are the benefits when you hire remote tech support employees?

In the modern world, robust and reliable tech support is vital to the good running of most companies. Whether maintaining company servers, handling customer or client technical queries, developing apps or software, or ensuring that your workforce are fully networked and able to operate effectively online, tech support are essential staff.  

When deciding on the type of tech support your company needs, as well as their numbers and locations, there are a range of advantages to hiring tech support staff to work remotely rather than focusing only on building up an on-site team. For example:

  • Larger talent pool
  • Hiring remote tech support staff means that you are not restricted to a limited geographic area close to a particular office building. With highly qualified and competent tech support workers in other regions and countries around the world, you may well make better quality hires on a remote basis.
  • Enhanced employee value proposition (EVP)
  • EVP is the value a company offers to its employees in return for the value they bring into the company. Remote working is an increasingly important element of EVP for modern workers, particularly in the tech sector and within younger demographics. Hiring remotely might boost your company’s EVP and give you an edge in recruiting the best tech support candidates. 
  • Potentially lower employment costs
  • Recruiting from a broader geography could also give you the option of hiring in areas or countries with lower costs of living, where lower salaries or wages are reasonable. This could save companies money compared to staffing an on-site office in one expensive city. Having fully remote workforce elements can also save money on office rental space, utilities etc… 
  • Greater flexibility and resilience
  • For a remote team spread across a broad geography, their work may be less affected by localized communications outages, weather events, or geopolitical disturbances than the same team clustered on a single site.
  • Potential round-the-clock cover
  • Remote staff in different countries and time-zones may be able to provide tech support cover for your workforce or clients around the clock, without anyone working overtime or outside of normal office hours for their location.

What are the crucial skills of a remote tech support employee?

The most important skills for a remote tech support employee will depend in part on the nature of the role they were hired for, and the technical requirements of their tasks.

For example, someone supporting particular software or hardware will require expertise in using, upgrading or modifying that software or hardware (e.g. a company which works entirely on MacBooks and other Apple devices should not hire internal tech support staff who are only familiar with Microsoft / Windows). Someone hired to develop apps or programs must be able to code (e.g. C++, Python, Java) and help put together user guidance.

Many crucial skills for remote tech support jobs will lie in communication. Workers must be able to understand and respond constructively to colleague or customer tech queries. Being able to express technical concepts in non-expert language can make a big difference to tech support effectiveness. Good time management, problem solving focus, and awareness of the bigger strategic picture for your business may also be highly desirable. 

Should I hire remote tech support as a contractor or an employee?

There are clear advantages and disadvantages to both options when deciding whether to hire your tech support staff as either remote contractors or remote employees. The right choice for your business will depend on the size and shape of your operations, the geography you cover and your future plans for network size and spread.

Some of the key considerations are set out here, but this is a question you should explore thoroughly with local employment and tax experts, alongside your short, medium and long-term workforce planning.

1. Business planning and trends

The size and shape of your customer base and workforce will be a major influence on your tech support needs. If this picture is highly uncertain then flexibility in your tech support team could be a top priority. In this situation, hiring staff as contractors may work well, either individually or through a third party.

Engaging contractors can make it simpler to increase or decrease staff numbers quickly, or to redistribute staff to different countries and/or timezones in response to client needs or changes in the economic, political or regulatory situation. Employees are typically a longer-term and less flexible solution.

2. Company equipment and software

Engaging contractors can make more sense where a business uses generic hardware and software, and there is no need for tech support staff to learn unique systems, processes and workarounds in order to do their job. In contrast, where in-depth knowledge of proprietary IT systems and modified devices is required, hiring at least a core tech staff of permanent employees can be a more sensible choice.

Without a knowledgeable and competent in-house tech support resource, there’s a risk of workforce or customers becoming frustrated and disengaged by dealing with outsourced contractors who may not be completely familiar with the hardware and software issues they encounter or able to provide speedy resolution. Over time, this could affect staff retention or customer loyalty.

3. Direction and quality control

Companies have less oversight and ability to quality control the daily activities of remote tech staff engaged as contractors rather than employees. Contractors are also able to simultaneously work for other companies, including any competitors. This means that you may not be getting as much of the contractor’s time or focus as you might with an employee.

4. Employee benefits and employer liabilities

A big part of your decision in choosing between contractors or employees for remote tech support, may come down to whether you can meet the cost and administrative burden of providing employee salary and benefits for remote workers in their countries of operation.

Local laws, customs and tax regimes can vary considerably around the world and compliance is vital. It is also important to guard against accidental misclassification of contractors or employees which could land your company in legal troubles. You should seek expert advice before making decisions around employing staff in countries where your business does not already have relevant HR and employment law knowledge and experience.

How can an Employer of Record help to hire remote tech support?

A Global Employment Organization (GEO) can be a useful partnership solution when you want to hire new staff overseas but do not have the right legal structures, knowledge or appetite to do so directly. GEOs can either assist your business in establishing a local legal entity, or can act as ‘Employers of Record’ (EORs) in individual countries, taking on the necessary payroll, tax and legal liabilities.

Partnering with a GEO as EOR can combine the benefits of hiring remote tech staff as contractors and employees. Your business could have the staffing flexibility of hiring contractors, together with the assurance of having full-time tech support staff dedicated to your business. Responsibility for full compliance with HR and tax rules and regulations lies with the EOR. 

Horizons can help hire remote tech support 

With extensive international experience as a Global Employment Organization, Horizons can help businesses identify remote tech support needs and hire efficiently around the world. Get in touch today to discuss your company’s requirements and obtain a no-obligation quote.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

There are several options for recruiting remote tech support. You could hire workers as permanent employees of your company, engage them directly as individual contractors, or engage contractors through a PEO, GEO or other third party organization.

 

The key tasks of remote tech support or remote IT staff will depend on the size and nature of your business, and the precise role they were hired to fill.

For example, general internal tech support should be keeping your workforce and all equipment and software online and operational. Customer-oriented tech support staff may be manning chat or phone facilities to guide customers or clients through technical issues with your website or client interface. If you’ve hired software developers to create and integrate apps and programs for your business, they would focus solely in these areas

Request a Proposal